Tony Perkins / September 21, 2015

Hearing Impaired

[Friday], in a loud and chilling statement, every Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives but five voted against a measure that protects babies born alive after a failed abortion. Thankfully, Rep. Trent Franks’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act passed the House anyway, with unanimous Republican support. The bill makes it a criminal offense for an abortionist to allow a born alive infant to die, whether by neglect or by actively killing the child.

[Friday], in a loud and chilling statement, every Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives but five voted against a measure that protects babies born alive after a failed abortion. Thankfully, Rep. Trent Franks’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act passed the House anyway, with unanimous Republican support. The bill makes it a criminal offense for an abortionist to allow a born alive infant to die, whether by neglect or by actively killing the child.

Obviously, this should be common sense in a civilized society. This should be basic humanity. And yet even the president issued an unusually strong statement in advance of the vote, promising to veto this measure should it come to his desk. In response, Cathy McMorris Rodgers declared that it is entirely inexcusable that the president would actively work to prevent a bill that protects our youngest humans! “This,” she said, “is a radical, extreme departure from what I know to be right.” Rep. Virginia Foxx warned, “We are developing a callousness toward life in this country which is extraordinarily dangerous.”

We heard such callousness in absurd opposing statements like that of Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), who stated that this bill “criminalizes the practice of medicine.” To all decent Americans, medical practice most certainly does not include the killing of born alive infants, whether by omission or commission. Our thanks goes out to the five Democrats who broke with party ranks to guarantee protection to these children.

The House also passed Rep. Diane Black’s Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, a measure to strip funding from Cecile Richards’s group for a year while congressional investigations are ongoing, with the support of only two Democrats and opposition of three Republicans.

Of course, the Left’s objections to the pro-life measures before the House have nothing to do with the substance of the bills. Instead, they rehearse the same tired talking points that have no basis in reality. They refuse to admit that the bill actually reallocates funds to federally qualified health centers around the country, which are not buried in scandal and under investigation for such horrific practices as partial birth abortion and profiting from the sale of babies’ body parts.

There are only 665 Planned Parenthood clinics in America, compared to 13,540 comprehensive health clinics. Defunding Planned Parenthood will in no way limit women’s access to health services. If, as Democrats falsely claim, the vast majority of women (especially women with low income) rely on Planned Parenthood for health care, then something must have gone terribly wrong with ObamaCare. Wasn’t that supposed to be their fix all?

[Thursday], in the most dramatic moment of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Hearing investigating Planned Parenthood, Chairman Pitts showed clips from the Center for Medical Progress videos, including some of the most damning evidence of morally reprehensible acts committed in Planned Parenthood facilities. Democratic members flew into a frenzy, talking loudly amongst themselves and their staff, ignoring the videos, talking over the videos and raising points of order to try to force Chairman Pitts to turn them off. Why? It seems some members can’t handle the truth. But the truth will not be silenced. The House is engaged in an unprecedented pro-life push — through legislation, hearings, and investigations.

The Senate is set to vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on Tuesday. We deeply respect and appreciate those members who are engaged in this fight to recognize and uphold the God-given unalienable right to life for all.

Life in the House

“The entire purpose and core reason for government is to protect the innocent.” This was the strong affirmation of U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) at FRC’s policy lecture [Thursday]. Rep. Franks, one of Congress’s bravest pro-life champions, has put his legislative pen to work to fulfill that purpose. With his colleague Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), he has authored the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 36). This measure would “afford basic protection to mothers and their unborn children entering the sixth month of gestation.”

As he said when he introduced the measure, “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.”

As the director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, has documented, “A growing body of science reveals an undisputable fact: unborn babies can feel pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization, and most likely even earlier.” The “Pain Capable” bill, which passed in the House in June, has been offered in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.). He and his colleagues will take up the measure next week.

In addition, Rep. Franks has authored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would “make failure to provide standard medical care to children born alive during an abortion a federal crime. It would also apply stronger penalties in cases where an overt act is taken to kill the abortion survivor.” This measure is scheduled for a vote in the House in the next few days. But Rep. Franks didn’t stop there. Given the barbarity of the recent Planned Parenthood videos, “We have a unique opportunity to defend the unborn,” he said.

As he put it, “The sands of time ought to blow over this capital before we give Planned Parenthood another dime.” Rep. Franks said the issue of life within the womb comes down to two things: “Is there really a God, and are these really babies?” We know the answer to both questions is a resounding “yes.”


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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