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House Expected to Vote on Pain Capable Life Bill

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, January 22, the US House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Pain-Capable Child Protection Act. Alabama Pro Life groups are asking for residents of Alabama’s Second Congressional District to take a moment to call Alabama’s Rep. Martha Roby’s Montgomery local office and/or Washington DC office to ask her to not only vote for the bill but to speak on the floor for the bill.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) would extend general protection from abortion to unborn children nationwide beginning at 20 weeks fetal age, based on congressional recognition that by this point in development, if not earlier, the unborn child is capable of experiencing pain. H.R. 36 is sponsored by US Representatives Trent Franks (R-Arizona) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and is based on model legislation developed by National Right to Life that has already been enacted in 10 states, including Alabama.

There is a rape exception in the bill, but the rape must have been reported to legal authorities. The group said that Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, is pressuring Republican female lawmakers to omit the requirement of reporting the rape in order to get an exception. National Right to Life said in a statement: “20 weeks is 5 months time to obtain an abortion without any need to report, however after 5 months in order to get an abortion exception, a rape report would have to be filed. This is a HUGE loophole we cannot afford to have in the bill.”

National Right to Life is concerned that widening the rape exemption to include non-reported rapes would be too large of a loop hole. Cheryl Ringuette Ciamarra said on Facebook, “The reporting clause definitely needs to stay in the bill, it is in there now, was in there when we passed it last year, but there is a move to pressure R women to take it out, 2 R Reps pulled their co-sponsorship from the bill today.”

Alabama Citizens for Life wrote in their action alert: “Contact Rep. Martha Roby and ask her to lead the cause for women and babies, she can be our Alabama champion by supporting the bill as it was previously passed and has come out of committee. AND speaking up for passage as written.”

Alabama Citizens for Life wrote: “Alabama helped lead the way passing this to protect babies, however many states allow abortion throughout entire 9 months. Your action today can help spread this protection across America !”

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2012 Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum wrote in a statement, “There is evidence that at 20 weeks, a baby in the womb can feel pain, and this bill protects unborn babies after 20 weeks gestation, or 5 months of pregnancy, from abortion. Tell your member of Congress to vote YES on H.R. 36. H.R. 36 also protects mothers from the physical and emotional dangers of late-term abortions. This bill is an important step in getting us closer to a point where every human life is protected and valued.” Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won the Alabama Republican Presidential Primary in 2012 and is a possible 2016 GOP candidate.

In the US Senate, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) plans to introduce the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act very soon.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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