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Five-Month Abortion Ban Bill Fails to Pass Senate

01-29-2018
Capitol Hill AS

There are currently just seven countries in the world that allow abortions after five months of pregnancy, including America, North Korea, and China. 

“There's a reason there are only 7 countries in the world that allow this,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on the Senate floor this week. “The question for America is do we want to stay in this club. Or do we want to get out. I want out.”

Pro-life lawmakers hoped to take a step towards separating America from that controversial group on Monday through the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, but their efforts failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to move forward in the Senate.

The results of the procedural vote were 51-46, with Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Doug Jones (D-AL) voting in favor of moving forward with the bill, and Republican Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voting “no.”

The pro-life legislation that passed the House last fall would put a ban on abortions after five months of pregnancy when science shows babies in the womb are able to feel pain.

Twenty states in the country already have laws in place that ban abortions after the 20-week point in a woman’s pregnancy. And in 2016 the state of Utah took a unique approach to addressing the issue of fetal pain, passing a law that requires abortion technicians to administer painkillers or anesthesia to babies aborted after 5 months.

“The reason that we’re advancing here is that a child feels excruciating pain in the fifth month, and the state, the government has an interest in protecting an unborn child from experiencing excruciating pain,” said Sen. Graham, who introduced the bill last fall.

"Abortion is a divisive, emotional issue. But I think by the fifth month most Americans agree with what we're trying to do," Graham continued. “I just don’t see how this makes us a better nation to continue this practice of allowing our babies to be aborted on demand in the fifth month of pregnancy when we know they feel pain.”

Polling data from the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List shows that the majority of voters in 2018 battleground states are supportive of limiting abortions after five months.

  • Ohio – 67% support, 56% less likely to support Senator who votes to allow late-term abortion
  • Wisconsin – 64% support, 57% less likely to support Senator who votes to allow late-term abortion
  • Montana – 63% support, 59% less likely to support Senator who votes to allow late-term abortion
  • Missouri – 60% support, 56% less likely to support Senator who votes to allow late-term abortion
  • Florida – 59% support, 46% less likely to support Senator who votes to allow late-term abortion
  • N. Dakota – 56% support, 61% less likely to support Senator who votes to allow late-term abortion

While most Americans support abortion restrictions, pro-abortion activists applaud the failed vote. 

"Anti-abortion Senators chose to waste precious time and put politics ahead of safeguarding reproductive health care. In doing so, they have once again disregarded the crucial importance of abortion access as health care. Although the Senate did not have enough votes to pass this bill this time the fact that it went to the floor at all is continued evidence that politicians seek to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to abortion," said Yamani Hernandez, Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Fund.

However, pro-life activists are not giving up the fight. 

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA List, tells CBN News they are already on the ground in multiple states knocking on doors letting people know where their Senator’s stand on this issue. She stated, "We promise that in several of these states – the states where it will have the highest impact – that we will definitely take our troops door-to-door."

Sen. Graham believes that as more people become aware of the issue, they will eventually get the 60 votes needed to pass the bill into law.

“I have not given up this fight and I hope you will not either.  Together we must press on and continue pushing for protection of the unborn,” said Graham in a statement following the vote. “While today was a small setback, I have no doubt that we will eventually be victorious.”

President Trump said in a statement following the vote that it is "disappointing" that the bill was blocked from further consideration in the Senate.

"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," Trump pointed out.  "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."

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