CO-SPONSORSHIP of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.1922)

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.1922), introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), would protect unborn children by preventing abortions 20 weeks after conception, at which time scientific evidence suggests the child can feel pain.

S.1922 mirrors legislation (H.R. 36), introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), which passed the House 237-189. The House has passed similar pain-capable unborn protection legislation several times since the beginning of the 113th Congress, each of which were subsequently blocked by Senate Democrats.

This Congress has the opportunity to advance pro-life legislation and now has a willing ally in the White House. In a statement of administration policy, the Trump administration affirmed its support of this legislation. Senators can help advance pain-capable unborn protection legislation to a floor vote by cosponsoring S.1922.

The 20 week ban proposed in S.1922 is current law in almost every country in the world, has successfully become law in over a dozen states, and is supported by a vast majority of Americans. As Sarah Torre, policy analyst at the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, writes:

The vast majority of Americans—including nearly 60 percent of women—support limits on dangerous and gruesome late-term abortions performed after 20 weeks. That’s five months, or halfway through pregnancy, when unborn children can feel pain and women are at increased risk for the negative effects of abortion.

National leaders’ failure to protect women and unborn children from late-term abortion has made United States’ policy on abortion extreme among developed nations. The U.S. is currently one of only seven countries in the world—in the company of North Korea and China—in which elective, late-term abortion after 20 weeks is allowed.

In a Heritage report titled, “Defending Life: Opportunities for the 115th Congress,” research associate in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation Melanie Israel prioritizes passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in addition to other pro-life opportunities this Congress. Heritage Action key voted the House bill earlier this week.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that passing this bill could potentially save 10,000 lives each year—a number widely considered to be on the conservative side. Sen. Graham presented a life-affirming vision Heritage Action agrees with: “I don’t believe abortion, five months into pregnancy, makes us a better nation. America is at her best when she’s standing up for the least among us and the sooner we pass this legislation into law, the better. We are on the right side of history.”

As Heritage’s Defending Life report concludes: “With pro-life majorities in the House and Senate, and a President who has committed to defend innocent life, Congress has the opportunity of a generation. Passing key pro-life legislation should be among the highest priorities in the 115th Congress.” Now is the time for the Senate to act on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and protect women and unborn children from gruesome late-term abortions performed after 20 weeks.

Heritage Action supports S.1922 and will include CO-SPONSORSHIP of this legislation in our scorecard.