Today, the U.S. Senate voted on S1553, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, by which point preborn babies are capable of feeling pain. However, the bill failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to end debate and send it to the White House by simple majority. Lawmakers voted 54 to 42, with Democrats blocking the measure.
“This vote will mark the first time the Senate has been put on record about this important issue,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who introduced the bill, said. “The sooner this legislation becomes law, the better.”
In May, the bill passed the U.S. House 242-184, following several months of controversy after the original January vote was derailed by a handful of Republicans’ fears that its rape exception provision was too harsh.
Live Action President Lila Rose condemned Democrats for blocking the vote:
Today’s failure of the Senate to pass a law preventing most abortions after babies are old enough to feel pain is beyond belief. It should sicken every American that our elected leaders refuse to protect the most vulnerable in our society, even when science has proven that at just 20 weeks old, children in the womb can feel the intense pain of the abortionists’ tools tearing their arms and legs from their bodies. Every senator who voted against this legislation is telling the public loud and clear that he supports the barbaric, horrific practice of tearing limb from torso and poisoning to death five month, seven month and even eight month old babies in the womb.
Live Action has investigated and uncovered the inhumanity of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, especially in our “Inhuman” investigation, which documents several abortion facilities willing to let babies born alive gasp for air until they die. We have all spent the last several months watching the evidence from videos from the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood officials admitting that abortions after 20 weeks are prevalent in today’s abortion clinics. While Planned Parenthood pursues profits in committing late-term abortions, it is shameful for our society and our elected leaders turn a blind eye to the injustice and inhumanity of these procedures and to continue to ignore science and ignore the dignity of the human person.
As we move toward a budget deadline of September 30, I urge Congress, especially those influenced by the abortion lobby, to face the facts and realize that our country is at a turning point in our history. While the Senate has not voted to protect the lives of the preborn at 20 weeks and beyond today, we still must fight to redirect a half billion dollars of taxpayer money away from abortion giant Planned Parenthood to the over 13,500 federally qualified health centers that provide comprehensive health care to women and their children.
The version the Senate just voted on contains the revised language stating that to obtain an abortion after five months, a woman must have obtained rape counseling at least 48 hours beforehand.
Republicans have also said they timed the vote to coincide with Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. According to Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), “The message to the Pope is … there are only seven countries in the world that allow abortion this late, at five months. And I’d like us to not be one of them.”
President Barack Obama vowed to veto the bill if it reached his desk.