U.S. House Passes Pain-Capable Abortion Ban

Pro-life Legislators from Ohio Lead Charge to Protect Unborn

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HR 36), 242-184. This legislation would prohibit abortions at the point at which babies can feel pain, no later than 20 weeks gestation. This day marks the second anniversary of the conviction of Kermit Gosnell, the notorious Philadelphia abortionist who was found guilty of murdering three babies by severing their spinal cords following failed abortions. 

“We know that the pain inflicted by Kermit Gosnell was not unique to his ‘House of Horrors,'” said Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “Every day, babies die painful deaths at the hands of abortionists. This legislation is a significant step in the right direction towards saving all babies. We thank Ohio’s own Speaker John Boehner for his key leadership in the passage of this legislation, as well as the rest of Ohio’s pro-life delegation.”

“We have no obligation, no higher obligation than to speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves-to defend the defenseless,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH). “That’s what this bill does. Because we know that by five months in the womb, unborn babies are capable of feeling pain and it is morally wrong to inflict pain on an innocent human being. Protecting these lives is the right thing to do.” 

Across the country, about 18,000 abortions occur after 20 weeks gestation and are performed in 275 abortion facilities. In November 2014, the Quinnipiac University Poll found that 60% of Americans would support prohibiting abortion on pain-capable babies. Women voters split 59-35% in support of such a law, while independent voters supported it by 56-36%. Now, the Pain-Capable legislation moves to the U.S. Senate. 

“This critically important legislation will protect unborn babies and make a strong statement that we value all life, regardless of what stage,” said U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). “It’s up to us to speak up and act, and I’m pleased to support this bill.” 

Ohio Right to Life is currently advancing a state version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.B. 117 and S.B. 127), which is sponsored by Representatives Kristina Roegner and Bob Cupp and Senators Peggy Lehner and Jay Hottinger. Thirty-three legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation. Significantly, the legislation challenges the viability limit on abortion restrictions, commonly triggered at 24 weeks, that the U.S. Supreme Court imposed in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Founded in 1967, Ohio Right to Life, with more than 45 chapters and local affiliates, is Ohio’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement in Ohio, ORTL works through legislation and education to promote and defend innocent human life from conception to natural death.



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