Op-Ed

Trent Franks: Republicans Must Take Ownership of The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

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On Jan. 29 of this year, the United States Senate took a vote on a motion to allow The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to proceed to the Senate floor for consideration.

This bill would have given those children born alive after surviving an abortion along with unborn children who have come to the very end of the fifth month of gestation (beginning of the sixth month) protection unless the pregnancy was conceived in rape or incest or endangered the life of the mother. These are children capable of feeling excruciating pain and most of them can now survive if they are born at this age. Almost every other civilized nation on earth protects these preborn children at this age.

The vote on this bill received a bipartisan majority of 51 votes in the U.S. Senate. One would think that a bipartisan vote of 51 votes in the U.S. Senate would at least allow such a bill to be debated and considered on the floor for a final vote.

However, unbeknownst to most Americans, this incredibly reasonable, humane bill, supported by the clear majority of Americans, was stopped cold by the 60-vote motion-to-proceed-to-consider rule from receiving a full debate or even an up or down vote in the Senate, and thus, any hope of passage.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could have used the same procedure to allow a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that he used to allow Justice Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh a vote for confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court (apart from which neither would have been confirmed). The bill would clearly then have been debated and passed in the Senate and gone on to receive President Donald Trump’s certain signature.

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If McConnell had done this, thousands of pain-capable human infants would have been protected every year in America by this legislation, and the subsequent court challenges would almost certainly have led to the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of protecting the lives of these most innocent members of the human family. America would then no longer be one of the few nations on earth to still leave very late-term, pain-capable unborn children completely unprotected.

Republican leadership must also take the responsibility for allowing Democrats to use the same leverage of the 60-vote rule in the Senate to force pro-life Republicans (trying to prevent the government from shutting down) to cast an anguished vote year after year to give millions of taxpayer dollars to “Abortion Corporation,” Planned Parenthood, which continues to freely prosecute its relentless genocide against these so helpless. Is the 60-vote rule that important to Republicans? Really?

The Democratic Party of the day fought the efforts of the nascent Republican Party to protect African-Americans from the ravages of slavery. The Democratic Party of today has consistently and overwhelmingly voted to successfully prevent even the slightest humane protection on the federal level for these little, pain-capable, pre-born children; and breathtakingly, even if they survive abortion and are born alive.

However, since Jan. 29, it is Republicans who can no longer avoid the fact that the blood of America’s pain-capable, unborn children is also now partially upon our own hands. Using the same procedure that became necessary to confirm Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, we could have easily protected these little innocents in the Pain-Capable vote. Yet, an absurd rule that has now created a modern-day Senate no longer capable of effectively operating under regular order was more important than protecting these thousands of little, pain-capable children of God.

Yes, some Republican senators will deflect by saying they are protecting us from what Democrats gaining the majority might do in the future if the rule is changed. Like what? Something as dreadful as legalizing the mass genocide of innocent, pain-capable, human children before they’re born? Do we actually forget that this is the mindnumbing reality already?? Do we really think that Democrats will not vanquish the 60-vote rule when they are in full control??

The present rules and system ensure that the debate over federal protection for innocent unborn children could easily continue indefinitely without resolution.

In the meantime, pro-life groups will continue to beseech America to open her eyes, including those few pro-life groups who secretly support the 60-vote rule in the Senate that prevents any plausible possibility that their stated goal of gaining federal legal protection for unborn human beings will ever be achieved.

Republican senators will also be able to go on being reelected by beating their chest proclaiming their pro-life credentials while quietly supporting the rule that leaves thousands of pain-capable pre-born babies in America condemned to a merciless death at the whim of the abortionist’s knife year after year.

If Republicans can find the clarity and the courage to admit only one thing to ourselves, we should admit that it doesn’t have to be this way. In this fleeting moment in history, it is still undeniably within our power to change it while we’re still in the majority.

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Christmas is upon us.

If not now, when?

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Trent Franks represented Arizona's 8th Congressional District in Congress and served in the Arizona House of Representatives. He was the author and leading proponent of the original tax-credit scholarship bill in Arizona.




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