September 20, 2022

Pro-Life Legislators Introduce Federal 15-Week Abortion Ban

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias speaking alongside
other pro-life leaders at Sen. Lindsey Graham's press conference
On Sept. 13, US Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Chris Smith introduced legislation that would ban abortion after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest, and when the mother's life is in danger.

At a press conference, Sen. Graham spoke about the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act alongside leaders from several national pro-life groups. Graham emphasized that this legislation would “get America in a position at the federal level that’s fairly consistent with the rest of the world.”

Abortionists who violate the bill could receive fines and/or up to 5 years in prison. The bill expressly forbids the prosecution of the mother whose child is aborted.

Graham argued that a 15-week limit is reasonable because unborn children can feel pain at that stage. Much of the text in the bill's introduction outlines its scientific reasoning. For example:
"In considering the use of anesthesia for invasive medical procedures performed on the fetus, doctors have concluded, based on the evidence, that from as early as 12 weeks gestational age, and certainly by 15 weeks gestational age, the fetus is extremely sensitive to painful stimuli, making it necessary to apply adequate analgesia and anesthesia to prevent fetal suffering."
The bill later goes on to say,
"The assertion of some medical experts that an unborn child remains in a coma-like sleep state that precludes an unborn child from experiencing pain is inconsistent with the documented reaction of unborn children to painful stimuli and with the experience of fetal surgeons who have found it necessary to sedate an unborn child with anesthesia and provide analgesia to prevent an unborn child from engaging in vigorous movement in reaction to invasive surgery."

While this legislation is unlikely to pass given the current makeup of the US Congress, it will likely motivate voters and reignite national discussions about abortion and the right to life.

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