GOP members cause rift within party over 20-week abortion ban disagreement
Yesterday, the anti-choice crowd staged a die-in in front of the White House to protest the killing of a bill that would federally ban abortion after 20-weeks for all women except in cases of proven rape or incest.
Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ),who drafted the bill with Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), wrote:
More than 18,000 ‘very late term’ abortions are performed every year on perfectly healthy unborn babies in America. These are innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain, but who can survive outside of the womb in most cases, and who are torturously killed without even basic anesthesia. Many of them cry and scream as they die, but because it is amniotic fluid going over their vocal cords instead of air, we don’t hear them.
It’s important to note that a very small percentage of all abortions performed take place after 20-weeks, but that most gestational problems with a fetus are discovered after this time period and that’s one of the reasons why it’s important to keep an exception to late-term abortion.
Fearing that the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Act” would further alienate more women from their base, many Republicans withdrew their support for the act. The act already had Democrats’ and women’s movements’ ire as a way to limit choice for women.
Many Republicans crossed party lines and expressed their lack of support for the bill.
At one time the bill seemed certain to pass but due to intra-party disputes it won’t get a vote in Congress because the bill only allowed exceptions for victims of proven rape or incest. Very often, rape cases go unreported or unproven and some members of the GOP feared that women would be unfairly penalized by the passage of the bill, which is bad for their party come 2016.
The Center for Disease Control estimates only 35 percent of rape or incest cases are reported; even fewer of those cases reported are prosecuted.
Reps. Rene Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) lead the dissent against the bill.
The issue becomes, we’re questioning the woman’s word. We have to be compassionate to women when they’re in a crisis situation.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was a sponsor for the bill. said that Congress needs to find ‘A way out of this definitional problem with rape’ in order to limit abortion.
Sen. Graham spoke this morning on the Family Research Council:
Graham said further:
This is a debate that we will win if we can focus on the baby at 20-weeks.
But if the GOP seeks a 20-week ban as a way to save babies, they’re doing a terrible job, because the CDC also estimated that three-fourths of abortions would simply take place before the 20-week mark and would do little to curb abortion numbers.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) disagreed, saying:
This is not only insulting to the women of this country, but it’s just another pointless exercise in political posturing, It will never become law.
Instead, on the 42nd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade the House is expected to vote on whether or not to make the Hyde Amendment permanent — the amendment that makes it illegal for the federal government to subsidize elective abortions. Thus far, Congress has simply been renewing the law every year since it’s revision in 1993 by President Clinton, which only allows Medicaid to cover abortions in cases of incest, rape and life of the mother.
With a Congress now controlled by the GOP the issue of abortion is expected to be a hot one, but President Obama said in his State of the Union address that he is ready to veto any bills that come across his desk that undermine Americans — and that includes women.