Inhofe Votes for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), legislation that would prohibit abortions from being performed on unborn babies who are at or older than 20 weeks post-fertilization. Senate Democrats blocked the legislation with a 54-42 vote on a motion to proceed to cloture. 

“The United States is only one of seven countries that permits abortion after 20 weeks – or five months of pregnancy,” said Inhofe. “This places us in the ranks of China and North Korea who are notorious for their lack of value for human life. Senate Democrats squandered an opportunity to remove us from this list, and instead voted to continue to restrict the rights of the unborn, America’s most vulnerable population. Americans are waking up to the scientific facts and the moral implications regarding abortion practices. It’s time Washington catches up to this reality, and begins to put in place policies that gives a voice to the unborn.”

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would make it illegal for any person to perform, or attempt to perform, an abortion without first making a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child. If the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is determined to be 20 weeks or greater, an abortion shall not be performed, unless it is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Inhofe is an original cosponsor of the Senate version, S.1553.

Monday evening, Inhofe spoke on the Senate floor about the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which can be viewed by clicking here. An unofficial transcript is also available below:

“At the conclusion of my remarks, I want to demonstrate clearly what a 20-week sonogram looks like and what a baby does look like.

“By 20 weeks, a woman has reached the halfway point of the pregnancy and has the opportunity to learn the gender of her child. By 20 weeks, there is conclusive scientific evidence that a baby can feel pain, they can hear sounds, and they can react to sounds. They twist, they kick, they yawn, and they stretch, and some even open their eyes and suck their thumbs. But most importantly, they feel pain.

“The United States is just one of seven countries with populations of more than a million that allows abortions past 20 weeks. Other countries who join ours in this practice are countries like China and North Korea and Vietnam. 

“The abortion procedure after 20 weeks is known as late-term abortions. We have been talking about this on the floor, and I think people are pretty familiar with it--much more so now than they were just a short while ago. It is very unpleasant and very shocking. During the procedure the baby is rotated and the forceps are used to pull the baby's legs, arms, and shoulders through the birth canal. Once this is done--because the head is too large--an incision is made at the base of the baby's skull to allow a suction catheter to be inserted to remove the cerebral material--that is the brains--collapsing the skull and allowing the baby to be completely removed.

“Now, I lay this out for you because people need to know what inhumane practices are taking place in America. When you start to devalue the life of a child just because it hasn't been born yet, you start devaluing life in general, situations like what happened in Philadelphia are allowed to occur.

“As I am sure the occupier of the Chair remembers very well, in May of 2013, Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three first-degree murder charges for killing babies who had been born alive at his abortion clinic in Philadelphia. Testimony from the trial indicated he and his staff snipped the necks of more than 100 infants who survived abortion attempts. Viable babies were delivered and then murdered. Furthermore, Gosnell endangered the health and lives of the women who came to his clinic by reusing disposable medical equipment, performing procedures in unsanitary conditions with unsanitary instruments, overdosing them, and causing serious injuries to their bodies. On at least two occasions women died after visiting his clinic. Talk about a war on women, this guy is on the front lines.

“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania turned its back on these women when it never once inspected the clinic in 17 years, despite receiving complaints against Gosnell and being notified that a woman died in the clinic. Pennsylvania Department of State wouldn't investigate the complaints they received. These kinds of things can happen when human life is considered disposable.

“This year, we have seen 10 videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, showing Planned Parenthood executives and employees across the country detailing the sale of baby parts and how they manipulated and delayed the abortions. What we are saying is they delayed an abortion from taking place so the baby could mature and the parts they were using as their specimens would be of greater value to the customers they were selling the baby parts to. The heartless way they talked about these things and the complete disregard for the life of the baby that is being dissected are shocking and sickening.

“It is no wonder over the past decade Americans have been waking up to the scientific facts and the moral implications regarding abortions. There was a Gallup poll in 2010 that called pro-life the ‘new normal’ for Americans. But 3 years later, in 2013, the Gallup poll showed that 64 percent of Americans--that is 2 to 1, a majority of Americans by 2 to 1, which is a very strong majority--supported banning abortions after the first trimester. That is just one of many polls showing this trend to favor life. In the first trimester you are only talking about 12 weeks at that point.

“What is really interesting about these polls is that in each of them women always support these bans at a higher rate than men. As I have learned from my wife and two daughters, only women can really understand what is at stake.

“I had the opportunity to experience firsthand and be there at the time of the birth of my four children and my 12 grandchildren. Life is truly a miracle. It is not just the life of a child but also that of the mother. Thanks to the progress of science it is more evident than ever that abortion ends life. Medical data is now also showing significant risks to women's health and well-being.

“Now, what I am going to show--what Donelle is going to show--is the baby she is carrying right now. That sonogram was taken at 20 weeks. At 20 weeks you can see all the details of the baby, and I would like to have Donelle point out the ear of the baby the sonogram shows. It is very, very clear--the kidney, the heart, the spine, the teeth, the lips, and the brain. Now, that was 20 weeks.

“What we have here in the United States is an opportunity for those in favor of abortion to go far longer than just the 20 weeks. They can go all the way up to, in America, the time of birth. All they have to do is show the health of the mother is at risk and this can be done. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban these abortions and protect these babies.

“We have 46 Senators signed to the bill. The House has passed its own version, and I think we have the opportunity to take a major step forward. That is what this is all about. I have hope. I have run into so many people who have not had the opportunity to get some of the graphic details of what Planned Parenthood has been doing in murdering these babies and selling their parts, but I hope this is an opportunity.

“We are going to have a vote so that we will have an opportunity to do this, and I am very hopeful some of these Senators who have not acknowledged this is going on, that they will do so. This is what it is all about. This is what the baby is, and this is what we have the opportunity to reform in our system.

“With that, I yield the floor.”