From the GOP, Some Real Pain Management
It was anything but business as usual on the House floor yesterday, as the two parties bitterly fought over a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks. Emotions were raw from the opening gavel, when Democrats objected to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) managing the debate on a bill that they called "stupid" (Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa.), "offensive" (Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.), "cowardly," (Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y.), "cruel," (Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.), "blatantly unconstitutional," "borne of ignorance," and an "insult to the intelligence of women."
The Left is so fiercely protective of America's culture of killing it is unwilling, even for a second, to consider the excruciating pain abortion inflicts on these children. "Why are we here," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries argued, "wasting the time and the money of the American people on a futile and extreme legislative joyride?"
"This debate is not some waste of time," Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebr.) fired back. "This is not some exercise in extremism. The fact that we are having this debate at all demonstrates that our society is actually failing women... Madam Speaker, there are some lines that we should all agree should be drawn." At the very least, Rep. Trent Franks's bill suggests, those lines should begin at 20 weeks when scientists agree that children can feel the pain of their dismemberment.
Congressman John Fleming (R-La.), a doctor who's delivered hundreds of babies, couldn't help but point out the Democrats' hypocrisy. "Our friends on the other side of the aisle, when it comes to animals they're all about the humane treatment, and I have high regard for that. When it comes to the issue of torture or even discomfort for prisoners of war, they're all about supporting that. But what happens... when there's an abortion? What happens is just absolute torture." And some evidence would suggest that this torture starts much earlier than the five month mark. Rep. Blackburn, as part of her remarks, showed slides about the milestones of pain development and explained that even at eight weeks -- just two months into their development -- babies begin establishing the spinal circuitry for pain.
Unfortunately, that doesn't prick the conscience of most Democrats, including President Obama, whose administration vowed Monday to veto the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act if it ever crossed his desk. Of course, that isn't a surprise given that when Senator Obama was an Illinois legislator, he was the only one in favor of killing a born-alive abortion survivor. If he isn't worried about a newborn's pain, he certainly wouldn't be worried about a child in the womb.
Like most Democrats, President Obama's views are stuck in the science of the 1970s. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who last week called abortion "sacred ground," had no rebuttal to the question of pain either. She and her party managed to ignore the cutting-edge research and, without providing any data of her own, concluded the bill was "dangerous." Let me tell you what's dangerous, Rep. Blackburn shouted back: Men like Kermit Gosnell and Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen, and the dirty bloody equipment in Planned Parenthood's Delaware clinic -- which endanger not only children, but mothers as well.
Rep. Diane Black, a nurse, cut through the Left's nonsense about the GOP's war on women and explained, "There are medical reasons for this [bill]. At 21 weeks or more, a woman is 91 times more likely to die from an abortion than she was in the first trimester." Obviously, her comment was directed to the likes of Rep. Slaughter, who accused the pro-life agenda of being "driven by men in blue suits and red ties." When human lives are on the line, should it matter which gender is trying to save them?
The American people don't think so, including 63% of women, who believe that abortion shouldn't be permitted after the point babies feel pain. A courageous and emotional Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) closed the debate saying that even the Supreme Court recognizes Congress's right to find ways to protect life. Holding back tears, she said, "May we in humility confront this national sin."
In the end, 228 members of the House voted to try, passing Rep. Franks's bill and sending a message to all Americans that most House Republicans are listening. It was a hard-earned victory for Congressmen Franks and Blackburn, and a proud moment for the FRC staff, who had poured so many resources into raising awareness about this legislation. Together, we made a difference!
The Rights Brothers: Lee and Cruz Push for Military Freedom
President Obama may be willing to throttle back the military's freedom, but some in his party aren't. Last week, in a closed door mark-up of the Senate Armed Service Committee, seven Democrats crossed over to support an amendment specifically designed to protect our troops from religious harassment. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) offered the measure, piggybacking off of Rep. Fleming's successful language in the House. The amendment, which passed overwhelmingly (19-7), reiterates the rights our service members should already have: to express their faith appropriately without fear of punishment. At FRC's prompting, the measure also protects the military's freedom of conscience, which has been trampled after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"I am thankful for the support of my colleagues in passing amendments that are important to the State of Texas and the entire country, prioritizing the needs of our servicemen and women who daily sacrifice their lives to promote and defend our nation's freedom," Sen. Cruz said. "As this legislation is debated before the full Senate, I will work to ensure these measures are prioritized and included in final legislation." And FRC will continue to work to make sure it becomes law, protecting the freedoms of those who protect ours.
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** Josh Duggar's new position at FRC Action is grabbing a lot of headlines, especially here in D.C. Check out the Washington Post coverage of the move here.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.