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U.S. House Passes Bill to Protect Unborn in Sixth Month and Later; National Right to Life Commends Seven Georgia Lawmakers

Contact: Jessica Rodgers, 202-626-8825, mediarelations@nrlc.org; Megan McCrum, 202-626-8820, federallegislation@nrlc.org; both with National Right to Life Committee  

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ --  The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives today passed landmark legislation to provide nationwide protection for unborn children who are capable of feeling pain, beginning at 20 weeks fetal age (equivalent to "22 weeks of pregnancy"), the beginning of the sixth month.

The legislation, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797), is based on model legislation developed by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of state right-to-life organizations.  The bill passed by a vote of 228-196, with six House members crossing party lines in each direction.

"This legislation reflects the views of the overwhelming majority of both men and women," said NRLC President Carol Tobias.  "The Obama White House, and all but a handful of House Democrats, fought for essentially unlimited abortion in the sixth month or later, despite growing public awareness of the violence perpetrated by late-term abortionists such as Kermit Gosnell and the pain they inflict on unborn babies."

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson strongly commended seven members of the Georgia House delegation, all Republicans, for voting for the bill:  Doug Collins, Phil Gingrey, Tom Graves, Jack Kingston, Tom Price, Austin Scott, and Lynn Westmoreland.  He said NRLC was "extremely disappointed" in Republican Reps. Paul Broun and Rob Woodall.  "In the 435-member House, Broun and Woodall are the only lawmakers who identify themselves as pro-life but who voted against this bill."

H.R. 1797 would allow abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization if the mother's life is endangered, or in cases of rape and incest reported prior to the abortion to appropriate authorities.  H.R. 1797 is based on an NRLC model bill that has already been enacted in nine states, including Georgia (but the Georgia law contains an exception to allow abortion of handicapped unborn babies, not found in the federal bill). 

In a nationwide poll of 1,003 registered voters in March, The Polling Company found that 64% would support a law such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks -- when an unborn baby can feel pain -- unless the life of the mother is in danger.  Only 30% opposed such legislation.  Women voters split 63%-31% in support of such a law, and 63% of independent voters supported it.

Founded in 1968, National Right to Life, the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.