After more than 3 hours of debate, and by a margin of 51-46, the Senate voted Monday afternoon not to ban abortions after 20 weeks. The motion, which would have prevented a filibuster on The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, needed 60 votes to pass. The failure of cloture motion means that babies en utero are still legally allowed to be aborted in the U.S. at 5 months of gestation, making this country one of only seven in the world that allow abortion that late in a pregnancy.
The bill itself is based on the scientific neural evidence that supports babies at that stage of gestation can feel pain, and are often injected with painkilling drugs so these types of abortions can be performed. The hashtag #TheyFeelPain began trending on Twitter before the vote and gained steam and urgency after the cloture motion failed to pass the Senate:
Today you'll hear Democrats call legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks "extreme."
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 29, 2018
— March for Life (@March_for_Life) January 29, 2018
— Jamin Lynch (@Lynch_Jamin) January 30, 2018
Today, 46 senators voted AGAINST protecting preborn children from abortion after 20 weeks. They voted IN FAVOR of dismembering and poisoning to death children beyond five months, who are often viable and can feel pain. This is extreme and beyond heartless. https://t.co/0xZrcK03bf
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) January 29, 2018
One of the more galling aspects of the decision not to allow the bill to pass through the Senate protected from filibuster are the reasons pro-choice Democrats give for allowing the termination of life at a point when medical technology has made it possible for those babies to live outside the womb.
During the bloc of time in which pro-abortion Democrat senators spoke on the Senate floor, many referenced a common but misleading talking point, pretending that women who undergo late-term abortions do so almost solely for medical abnormalities. Research shows, however, that most women have late-term abortions for socioeconomic reasons, which is the same reason many women cite for their earlier abortions.
Sen. Hirono even referred to late-term abortion as “life-saving” care, but research shows that these abortions carry much higher physical and psychological risks for women than early abortions (which also carry their own set of risks).
Now, because of 46 senators, the United States continues to hold a terrible distinction on human rights: it remains a nation that allows elective abortion until birth.
Another bill, called the The Heartbeat Bill, was introduced earlier in the year than the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act. If it passes, it will protect babies from abortion at the detection of a heartbeat. Babies’ hearts begin to beat at 6 weeks.
The White House released a statement following the vote.
Recently, when I addressed the 45th annual March for Life, I called on the Senate to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, important legislation that would protect our most vulnerable. It is disappointing that despite support from a bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators, this bill was blocked from further consideration. Scientific studies have demonstrated that babies in the womb feel pain at twenty weeks. The vote by the Senate rejects scientific fact and puts the United States out of the mainstream in the family of nations, in which only 7 out of 198 nations, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. We must defend those who cannot defend themselves. I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish, and protect life.
The Washington Post felt compelled to fact-check the statement related to the number of countries that allow abortions after 5 months back in October when the Trump administration first used the data. They felt the factoid “seemed extreme.” They ultimately had to confirm its accuracy.
Despite the vote in the Senate today, there are perhaps signs that the abortion industry is beginning to die a slow death with news that Dr. Mengele herself, Cecile Richards, has decided to step down from the organization. That’s after years of pulling in over a half a million dollars in salary to oversee the early deaths of millions of American citizens.
Perhaps science is beginning to catch up enough that bureaucratic officers deciding which lives are valuable is starting to become less lucrative. For the soul of the nation, we can only hope this is true.