They believe in abortion expansion. Pro-life representatives in Congress are committed to the view that we need to stop Gosnell-like abortions and Gosnell-like conditions from continuing. The victims, unborn babies and women alike, deserve more. This week pro-life representatives are asking the questions pro-choice liberals refuse to answer: At what point do unborn children deserve protections? If not at the sixth-month stage when science says unborn babies feel excruciating pain, then when?
Pro-life House members chose 20 weeks because indisputable scientific evidence tells us that abortions at that stage inflict excruciating pain. Unborn babies can feel touch at eight weeks. They feel pain at 20 weeks and even earlier. In some states, babies are given anesthesia because of that fact. Gosnell's own defense attorney, Jack McMahon, came out of his client’s murder trial saying 24 weeks is a bad determiner and that the threshold for banning abortion should be 16 or 17 weeks. Twenty weeks was also chosen because of a desire to align public policy with a large majority of Americans' general attitudes about late-term abortion. Polls indicate more than 60 percent of Americans oppose abortion in the 2nd trimester. Over 80 percent oppose abortion in the 3rd trimester.
Finally, these protections come in response to Gosnell and other appalling cases like his that have been reported all over the country. We can't turn a blind eye to violence against unborn children, especially when some of these late-term abortions have led to the deaths of innocent women from botched abortions.
If we won't protect babies at the point when an unborn child is known to feel excruciating pain, when will we? This week Congress can take another look at the human cost of abortion and begin restoring a policy that reflects our common humanity. As events in a Philadelphia courtroom reminded us, we haven’t got a moment to lose.
Hartzler represents Missouri’s 4th congressional district since 2011. She serves on the Agriculture, Armed Services and Budget committees. Musgrave is vice president for Government Affairs at the Susan B. Anthony List.