WASHINGTON — Rep. Trent Franks, R- Ariz., has vowed to expand the D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act to the whole country, outlawing the abortion of unborn infants that can feel pain, or unborn children more than 20 weeks old.
“Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be,” Franks said in a statement. “This is not who we are.”
The bill was reintroduced on May 17, following its initial introduction in 2012. The original version of the legislation only proposed to ban late-term abortions in Washington, D.C., however, the new edition will stop abortions after 20 weeks of development throughout the country.
The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the ability to make laws for the nation’s capital. Currently, 36 states, including Franks’ home state, have bans against late-term abortions, and these restrictions have been upheld in federal court in 2012.
Franks said that the Kermit Gosnell case in Philadelphia motivated him to extend the legislation to the entire United States. Gosnell was a late-term abortionist in Philadelphia who was found guilty of first-degree murder of three newborn infants, the death of a patient under his care and dozens of other crimes.
He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Franks noted that “abortions on babies just like the ones killed by Kermit Gosnell have been happening hundreds of times per day, every single day, for the past 40 years,” and that his bill would outlaw these violent dismemberments and killings that “in many places nationwide” are still legal.
He expressed that even though the topic is contentious, he hoped that “we can at least come together to agree that we can and should draw the line at the point that these innocent babies can feel the excruciating pain of these brutal procedures.”
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., opposed the version of the bill that only affected Washington, D.C., and promised “an even stronger national response” to Franks’ reintroduction.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life group, praised the legislation, saying, “We must have a conversation about where we step in to protect the rights of the most vulnerable.”
She noted that a wide array of individuals, “even pro-choice leaders like Frances Kissling, have agreed that a limit to late-term abortion is worth discussing.
“We praise Rep. Franks for his courageous leadership on this bill and urge all Members of Congress to support this effort to protect unborn children and their mothers from the horrific pain of abortion.”