As we mourn the lives lost in Las Vegas this week, and welcome Whip Scalise back to Capitol Hill, we are reminded just how precious life is. This message weighed heavily on the hearts of House Republicans as we spoke of the potential of life — especially lives cut short through abortion.
Yesterday, we passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). Also known as Micah’s Law, this bill protects the unborn and provides solutions that address the pain caused by all who are touched by abortion. Its namesake is Micah Pickering, a thriving kindergartner who was born at 20 weeks.
This is a major pro- life victory for our country, and House Republicans had a lot to say about it:
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ):
“…Madam Speaker, today we are poised to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in this Chamber. No matter how it is shouted down or what distortions or deceptive what-ifs, distractions, divisions, gotchas, twisting of words, twisting of subject, or blatant falsehoods the abortion industry hurls at this bill and its supporters, this bill is a deeply sincere effort, beginning at their sixth month of pregnancy, to protect both mothers and their pain-capable unborn babies from the atrocity of late-term abortion on demand, and ultimately it is a bill all humane Americans will support if they truly understand it for themselves.
“Madam Speaker, this will be a vote that all of us remember for the rest of our lives.…Madam Speaker, passing this bill really shouldn’t be so hard because, in spite of all the political noise, protecting little pain-capable, unborn children and their mothers is not a Republican issue and it is not a Democratic issue. It is a test of our basic humanity and who we are as a human family.”
Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA):
“Madam Speaker, this is about the values that define us as Americans. We see the potential in every life, and that includes the unborn. The Micah Act is life-affirming legislation that shows compassion for the baby and the mom.
“Ten years ago, I received tough news that our son had Down syndrome, an extra 21st chromosome. The doctors told us it would be a long road ahead. Today, I see more clearly. Too often others try to define a baby’s future before they are even born. Part of being an American is not letting others define us.
“I look at our son, Cole, and I see a healthy 10-year-old working his way through fifth grade. His life is different than we imagined–in a good way. He lights up a room. People are drawn to him. He plays sports and is in Cub Scouts. He is living a full life with huge potential.
“Madam Speaker, I am proud to support this legislation that reflects our values and protects the sanctity of life, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO):
“The underlying legislation will protect thousands of unborn babies from the excruciating pain of abortion. Twenty weeks post-fertilization is an incredible milestone in pregnancy for moms and their unborn babies. Children at this stage in development have fingers and toes, and they have well-developed neurological structures that can feel pain. In fact, babies at this age are hypersensitive, feeling pain more acutely than you and me.
“Preemies, children born at the beginning of the sixth month, just like Micah, can survive outside the womb. These babies are the future doctors, nurses, scientists, teachers, law enforcement officers in our country. H.R. 36 protects this next generation of America’s children. Our country is unified in protecting life at 20 weeks. Six in ten Americans support the pain-capable legislation, and 20 States have passed similar legislation. Let’s put an end to the abortion of these potential children. ”
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE):
“A majority of Americans support protecting unborn children from painful late-term abortions, so we have an opportunity to bring Americans together around this bill to help defend life nationwide. Nebraska led the way as the first of 20 states to put these protections into state law. I am glad the House passed this important legislation today, and I urge the Senate to take it up and send it to President Trump’s desk for his signature.”
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO):
“Mr. Speaker, today I rise because our family will welcome its first grandchild in the coming months. This is her 17-week ultrasound, and I cannot wait to meet her. This child is already known by her mother, Julia, quoting Psalm 139: `For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.’
“Mr. Speaker, this child is a gift from God, a gift that we have far too often abandoned in this country. Today, we know so much more. We know that, after 3 weeks, my granddaughter had a heartbeat. After 7 weeks, she began kicking her mother, like any good Wagner child would. By week 12, she could suck her thumb, and at week 20, my granddaughter knew the sound of her mother’s voice and could feel pain.
“Mr. Speaker, I stand for life, from conception to natural death. I stand for H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. And on behalf of my granddaughter, I will continue to fight for the day when abortion is not only illegal, but it is unthinkable.”
Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL):
“Mr. Speaker, at 20 weeks into a pregnancy, babies can hear music, respond to human voices, and, most importantly, they can feel pain. These are our children at their most vulnerable, yet current law continues to allow for abortions to take place even after this point in a pregnancy. That is why I have been a strong supporter of Micah’s Law, which is legislation that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks.
“This bill is not a partisan issue but, instead, a moral issue. By passing this law, every year we would be saving over 12,000 babies who can feel pain and hear our voices. It should be noted that this proposal has seen bipartisan support across the country. In fact, 60 percent of Americans support prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, including 63 percent of those who consider themselves pro-choice.
“This legislation is about nothing less than protecting those who cannot protect themselves. We remain one of only seven countries in the entire world that continues to allow abortions after 20 weeks. We must act to change this. I urge my colleagues to join me today in supporting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, or Micah’s Law.”
Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL):
“Last week, I, too, had the opportunity to meet the little boy this bill was named for: Micah Pickering. As many of you know, he was born at 22 weeks and spent 4 long months in intensive care. Micah survived, and this year he is in kindergarten. You see, children like Micah, who are born prematurely, are treated as patients. Special care is given to reduce their pain and increase their chances for survival, just as it should be.
“So, Madam Speaker, my question to those who would oppose this bill is this: What is the difference between a baby born at 6 months outside the womb and a baby at 6 months inside the womb? How can one be treated like a miracle they are created to be and the other be treated like medical waste? If a baby like Micah can survive outside the womb given the appropriate care, shouldn’t we give other babies like him the same protection and chance to live?
“…I have listened to my colleagues on the other side call this bill extreme. I say to oppose this bill is extreme. If we won’t stop abortions at 6 months of pregnancy when a baby feels pain, when will we stop them? We have to draw a line somewhere.”
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE):
“Madam Speaker, Maddie Brinckerhoff was an early feminist author and lecturer from the Midwest, where I live, and she had this to say about abortion: ‘It is evidence that either by education or circumstances that she–the woman–has been greatly wronged.’
“In this spirit, Madam Speaker, I think there is an opportunity here to perhaps bring Congress together around a humane proposition that requires thoughtful but necessary reflection on the deepest meanings of pain.
“We all know pain. But pain teaches us profound lessons about suffering, sacrifice, patience, and the redemptive healing possibilities of encountering one another in our vulnerability as humans living in the interdependency of community. Pain is something from which we naturally recoil, but it also enables us to build compassion toward those who are weak, or dependent, or alone.
“Madam Speaker, in letting our natural impulse to respond to another who is in pain, we can grasp what it means to be truly ourselves, to be truly human, and to care deeply about everyone, and to really internalize what is at issue here.”
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC):
“I am proud to support this bill, also known as Micah’s Law, because we must care for these unborn children, not cruelly inflict pain and deny them their inherent dignity by treating them as objects.
“One day, I hope that a cultural life will take hold in the United States and that all children will be protected under the law. However, until that day comes, it remains my solemn duty to stand up for life. Regardless of the length of this journey, I will continue to speak for those who cannot.
“Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote to protect the Nation’s most vulnerable children and ensure they are not subject to unimaginable pain and to affirm life by voting in favor of this bill.”