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Commentary

Senate GOP Looks To Vote on 20-Week Abortion Ban, Shooting for Late Feb.

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Despite its willingness to campaign on a staunchly pro-life platform, the Republican Party of recent decades has accomplished little in Washington regarding protections for the unborn.

For as long as I can remember, tough talk from the trail — talk of defunding Planned Parenthood and restricting the senseless prenatal elimination of America’s future generations — has always given way to excuses and broken promises following election day, even when the GOP controls both the legislative and executive branches.

Such trends have of course begun shifting under the Trump administration, however, with pro-life politicians emboldened in recent years to make major moves restricting the flow of federal family-planning funds to prominent abortion providers.

Now, Senate Republicans are reportedly gearing up to once again make substantial headway on the contentious issue with a vote on legislation banning late-term abortion.

According to the Washington Examiner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took action Tuesday to revive the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would federally prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.

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“A senior Republican aide pointed to a likely date of Feb. 24 for a vote,” the Examiner reported.

The bill does include exceptions for cases where “abortion is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman,” as well as in cases of rape and incest.

The legislation, which failed to break Democratic filibuster in an entirely Republican-controlled 115th Congress in 2018, would allow for the punishment of medical professionals found responsible for carrying out late-term abortion procedures by way of a substantial fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

The bill received bipartisan support and opposition in its first go.

Do you support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks?

It was voted down by maverick Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, but favored by Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Donnelly of Indiana (who went on to lose his re-election bid to a Republican).

The legislation’s initial failure to pass prompted a fiery response from President Donald Trump.

“Recently, when I addressed the 45th annual March for Life, I called on the Senate to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, important legislation that would protect our most vulnerable,” Trump said in a statement in January 2018.

“It is disappointing that despite support from a bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators, this bill was blocked from further consideration.”

“Scientific studies have demonstrated that babies in the womb feel pain at 20 weeks,” Trump continued. “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 seven out of 198 nations, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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“We must defend those who cannot defend themselves,” the president added. “I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish, and protect life.”

Trump recently renewed those calls for reconsideration of the bill, directly asking Congress “to pass legislation finally banning the late-term abortion of babies” during last week’s State of the Union address.

Unfortunately, however, regardless of the bill’s potential for success in a mildly more conservative Senate, it is doomed to fail in the House of Representatives, which has ceded control to the Democratic Party since the last time the legislation was up for discussion.

And that Democratic majority is one comprised of numerous fresh-faced radicals all but entirely apathetic to the fact that roughly 1 in every 100 abortions is carried out after the 21st week of gestation, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute — in an age where medical science is steadily improving survival rates for premature births, no less.

If only the GOP had fought just a bit more boldly at times when its leadership was unchallenged, perhaps reasonable restrictions would have been less unthinkable in the mainstream culture.

But at the very least, this is a step in the right direction — and an opportunity to officially and publicly expose the modern Democratic Party as the party of late-term, on-demand, no-questions-asked abortion.

Maybe that will wake Americans up to the reality of its current culture of death.

Maybe that will give legislation such as this a real fighting chance.

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Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He has since covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal, and now focuses his reporting on Congress and the national campaign trail. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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