Get ready for another political maelstrom to burst open this week. Last night, the White House came down foursquare in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HR36), which would bar all abortions after the 20th week of gestation. The statement emphasizes just how extreme US abortion procedures are among the global community:
— Susan B. Anthony List (@SBAList) October 2, 2017
“The United States is currently out of the mainstream in the family of nations,” the statement declares, “in which only 7 out of 198 nations allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.” That data comes from a 2014 study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which studied abortion practices. We are part of a dubious club of nations that includes North Korea, China, and Vietnam, as well as the Netherlands, Singapore, and … oh, Canada. That basically puts us and Canada in league with euthanasists and forced-aborters, not exactly dignified company for Americans and Canadians.
Getting this bill through the House might be tough. Getting it through the Senate may be impossible, at least in this session. It will be subject to a cloture vote, which means it will need 60 votes to eventually get to a floor vote on the bill itself. Even if all 52 Republicans stand firm on HR36 — and that’s questionable considering the support for Planned Parenthood from Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski during the ObamaCare repeal efforts — they’d need eight Democrats to avoid a filibuster.
So … which Democrats will want to take on the abortion lobby? Planned Parenthood spent slightly over $20 million in the 2016 cycle, including $4 million in direct contributions, according to data at OpenSecrets. (In contrast, the NRA spent around $58 million in the same cycle, but only $1 million on direct contributions.) They’ll paint a target on their backs in a party that has declared unfettered abortion rights as a litmus test for candidates, and any support will draw an immediate primary challenge effort. Republicans will need a good midterm to push their numbers closer to the magic 60 to get this through, and right now there’s a fair chance that they may not hold the House after 2018.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who has influence across the aisle, urged Senators from both parties to do the right thing and pass HR36. He called the bill “common-sense reform,” and wondered what is says about America that we even have to debate its wisdom:
“All decent and humane people are repulsed by the callous and barbarous treatment of women and children in clinics … that abort children after 20 weeks,” said the cardinal, who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. He made the comments in letters to each member of the House.
“While there are divergent views on the practice of abortion,” Cardinal Dolan said, “it is widely recognized from public opinion polls that a strong majority of the public is consistently opposed to late-term abortions.” …
“What does it say about us as a nation, if we will not act against abortions that even full-time abortionists find abhorrent?” Cardinal Dolan asked.
Nothing good, Donald Trump appears to say. Believe me.
Update: It’s heading over to the Senate on what looks like an entirely party-line vote:
BREAKING: House passes #PainCapable bill, banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Vote: 237 to 189.
— Jason Calvi (@JasonCalvi) October 3, 2017
That doesn’t bode well for the bill in the upper chamber, but … we can pray for miracles.