Republican U.S. Representatives Rod Blum (IA-01), David Young (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04) all voted today for a bill to make it a federal crime “for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.” The so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act contains only two exceptions: for termination “(1) that is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or (2) when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.” Women or girls must have reported the crime to law enforcement in order to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks.
All but two House Republicans supported the bill (roll call). Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02) opposed it, as did all but three of his fellow House Democrats. Loebsack has never backed any version of this legislation. King tries to ban abortion at every opportunity and has co-sponsored more extreme “heartbeat” or “personhood” bills. He spoke on the House floor in support of the current legislation last night.
Iowa’s new 20-week abortion ban has fewer exceptions than the bill House Republicans just approved. Women pregnant due to rape or incest have no recourse. The only allowable terminations after 20 weeks may occur if “the pregnant woman has a condition which the physician deems a medical emergency,” or if “the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of an unborn child.”
Neither the proposed federal ban nor Iowa’s law permit abortions after 20 weeks due to severe fetal anomalies, including those incompatible with life outside the womb. Iowa women are now required to continue pregnancies, potentially risking their own health or fertility, even if a 20-week ultrasound reveals a non-survivable medical problem. The same path would be forced on women nationwide if the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act became law. However, that won’t happen anytime soon, as the bill lacks enough support to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate.
I enclose below a statement from King and will update as needed, if Iowa’s other U.S. House members comment on today’s vote.
Note: Starting around the 2:30 mark of the video included in King’s October 3 press release, he described an old friend whose son survived after being born premature about 30 years ago. The way King told the story, the child was born at 21 or 22 weeks gestation, which is highly unlikely. Even with today’s technology, only “a tiny minority” of babies born at 22 weeks survive. A 2014 report involving the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that babies born earlier than 22 weeks cannot survive, regardless of medical interventions.
King’s anecdote also ignores the reality that many women seeking an abortion after 20 weeks either have a health problem that would make continuing the pregnancy dangerous, or have received a devastating diagnosis for the child they are carrying.
King Votes to Protect the Lives of Unborn Children
Unborn lives matter to King, House supporters of the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”
Washington, D.C.- Congressman Steve King released the following statement celebrating the House passage of important pro-life legislation he cosponsored. The legislation, H.R. 36, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” seeks to end abortions after an unborn child has attained the post-fertilization age of 20 weeks. There is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier. Under the legislation, an abortionist killing an unborn baby during or past the 20th week could be subject to both criminal penalties and civil remedies. The “Pain-Capable” legislation passed the House of Representatives today on a vote of 237-189, with King voting in favor of passage.
“Each one of these lives is so utterly precious, and we’re not going to stop. We’re going to defend every life that we can; we’re going to protect every life we can. We’re going to do the right thing that we can for the babies that we can save.”
To watch Congressman King’s entire speech, click the image or click here.
Pain receptors (nociceptors) are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body and nerves link these receptors to the brain’s thalamus and subcortical plate by no later than 20 weeks after fertilization.
By 8 weeks after fertilization, the unborn child reacts to touch. After 20 weeks, the unborn child reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human, for example, by recoiling.
America is one of 7 nations that allow elective abortion after 20 weeks (along with North Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Netherlands and Canada.)
Congressman King has introduced H.R. 490, “The Heartbeat Protection Act” which would protect unborn babies prior to the 20 week threshold established in the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Under the King legislation, “if a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.” King’s legislation currently has 168 cosponsors.