WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Trump is making it a top priority to sign into law a measure banning late-term abortion procedures that cause the unborn agonizing pain.
Speaking after the press conference, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, told the Media Research Center, "The president of the United States, who I talked with last night at the White House about this, considers it a high priority."
She argued that banning late-term abortion "has become now a national conversation, not just a conversation that you have off on the sidelines." Dannenfelser headed the 2016 Trump campaign's Pro-Life Coalition.
The bill's 20-week threshold is based on scientific evidence regarding fetal development. The text of the bill explains, "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."
Also present at Tuesday's event was Rep. Trent Franks (R–Ariz.). In 2015, Franks was responsible, along with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R–Tenn.), for first introducing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to Congress.
In anticipation of Tuesday's press conference, Dannenfelser told LifeNews, "The United States is a global outlier when it comes to our extreme, permissive abortion laws." She went on to note, "We are one of only seven nations in the world that allow children in the womb to be killed for any reason up until the moment of birth, putting us in the company of China and North Korea."
One abortion supporter, writing for Slate in 2016, argued that Republicans who want to put federal restrictions on abortion are contradicting their own support of states' rights and small government. He also complained that banning late-term abortion means granting rights to fetuses "by directly contravening the Supreme Court." Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion, states, "Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks."
However, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life argues that the sheer brutality of late-term abortion makes it utterly indefensible. In a piece on Wednesday in the Washington Examiner, Fr. Pavone points out, "Of all the indefensible claims made by abortionists, there are some that apparently even they can't bring themselves to take seriously or argue in court."
At one point, the Slate article claims that "20-week fetuses aren't actually capable of pain" and substantiates this claim with a 2005 medical report. This report not only is outdated but also uses the definition of pain as "a psychological construct with emotional content" rather than a neurological response.
More recent evidence, Fr. Pavone points out, muddies the picture significantly. Even abortion supporters are aware of this, he claims and have started shying away from medical evidence.
"[A]bortionists have come to realize that arguing about whether unborn babies feel pain is, for them, a lose/lose proposition," he remarks. "They lose on the merits, and they lose public support."
Father Pavone adds, "In other words, abortion promoters say that if you're in doubt about whether children in the womb go through agony as their bodies are crushed and torn, err on the side of cruelty."
"And even if these boys and girls go through unspeakable pain," he continues, "the abortion lobby believes that the Supreme Court will say that such suffering is simply the collateral damage of 'reproductive freedom.'"
In September 2016, the Trump campaign sent out a letter to recruit for the campaign's Pro-Life Coalition. The memo promised that Trump, if elected president, would make a list of pro-life decisions, including "nominating pro-life justices to the Supreme Court" and "signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful, late-term abortions nationwide."
In an interview with Media Research Center following Tuesday's press conference, Franks said, "I hope this bill will demonstrate the humanity of the unborn and the inhumanity of what’s being done to them."
He argued that two obstacles prevent people from becoming pro-life. The first obstacle is widespread ignorance about fetal development. Many people, the Republican congressman said, "simply didn't know how real these little babies were, how human they were, how much they looked like babies, that we could take their fingerprints at 10 weeks and identify them at 50 years."
The other obstacle to the pro-life movement, according to Franks, is opposition and deception from those on the political Left. He declared, "The Left is willing, for some horrifying reason, to simply deceive the people on the reality that we're dealing with here." He lamented that leftists "try to write a different narrative and take their focus off of anything that points to the child."