WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill on Tuesday that would ban abortion at 20 weeks and after, or five months gestation.
The Senate was unable to obtain the 60 votes needed to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, with a final vote of 54-42. The legislation was aimed at outlawing abortion at a point where the unborn child would feel pain in their death.
“Over 10,000 unborn babies 20 weeks or older are killed in America every year,” Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., declared from the Senate fllor. “Imagine that for a moment: Each year more than 10,000 lives who feel and react to pain having their lives brutally taken from them.”
“Late-term abortion procedures are so brutal, it’s difficult to even talk about them,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. stated. “Americans would rightly shrink in horror from performing one of these procedures on an animal. How then are we allowing these procedures to be performed on our children?”
Some senators noted that the U.S. is only one of seven countries worldwide that allows mothers to kill their children at five months gestation.
“[This bill] would allow America to join the ranks of most civilized nations when it comes to protecting the most innocent and vulnerable of life,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
But a number of Democrats sought to block the passage of the legislation, and succeeded.
“I’m calling this bill what it is: an unnecessary, unwarranted and likely unconstitutional intrusion into women’s private health care decisions,” Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, stated.
“More than 40 years ago, the Supreme Court stipulated that abortion is legal until a fetus is viable. Well, in no way, shape, or form is a 20-week fetus viable,” asserted Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif.
Only two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois, voted against the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. And only three Democrats, Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, voted in favor of the legislation.
The bill passed the House in May. On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner criticized Democrats for what he called their “extreme support for late-term abortions.”
“It is morally wrong to inflict pain on an innocent human being, but that’s exactly what Senate Democrats and President Obama are supporting by opposing this humane bill,” he said in a statement. “Their extreme support for abortions for any reason up until the moment of birth is indefensible.”
“Recent videos exposing the abortion-for-baby parts business shed new light on why they so emphatically support the practice of late-term abortion: fully-developed hearts, lungs, livers, heads, and legs potentially mean bigger profits. It’s a horrific thought, and a stain on our national conscience,” Boehner continued. “Every American who values life should demand an end to this barbaric practice.”
Some Christian and pro-life leaders oppose 20-week abortion bans as they believe that abortion should be illegal for any reason, at any time of gestation.