GOP Congress Not Wasting Any Time Trying To Ban Abortion

On Tuesday, the 114th Congress swung into session, and before any seats had the chance to warm up, two Republican legislators immediately introduced a bill meant to ban abortion after 20 weeks as opposed to the 23-24 weeks that is the present standard.

The bill, introduced by Representatives Trent Franks (R-Terrible Porn Name) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Stepford) is called the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” and is meant to protect fetuses from the horrible pain of abortion.

Sen. Lindsey Graham also has plans to re-introduce his own failed “fetal pain” bill, which failed last year.

Except … according to actual scientists, fetuses definitely do not feel pain until they are viable. Which is (wait for iiiiiiiiiit!) 23-24 weeks into a pregnancy!

Rep. Franks’ statement on the bill, via The Hill:

“More than 18,000 ‘very late term’ abortions are performed every year on perfectly healthy unborn babies in America,” Franks said Tuesday.

“These are innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain, but who can survive outside of the womb in most cases, and who are torturously killed without even basic anesthesia.”

Except, and here’s the thing–not one baby has ever survived being “delivered” before 21 weeks. In the history of ever. It hasn’t happened. And the reason why we set the mark at 23-24 weeks is because that is when scientists and doctors agree that a fetus is viable. And, once again, a fetus cannot feel pain until it is viable.

But hey, we’re talking about Marsha Blackburn here. The woman thought she was qualified to debate Bill Nye on climate change, despite the fact that he is qualified to do so (being a scientist and all) and she is definitely not. For some reason, these people seem to think they can just go around making up their own science as it suits their needs and agenda. That’s a weird thing to do.

I mean–hey–I think the digestive system is straight-up gross. I do not like to think about food particles being broken down by saliva and/or stomach acids. It horrifies me to my very core. But it’s not like I can go around literally claiming to be solid and to not have internal organs. Because it’s not true.

You would think that with all the time and effort they spend trying to make abortion illegal that they’d actually be able to come up with something that wasn’t so easily refuted. You can’t just make up that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks when it is an objective fact that they do not.

There are two reasons women get abortions later in pregnancy. One is because it has to do with the viability of the fetus or the health of the mother. Sorry, there’s not much you can do about that. You can’t expect women to be OK with dying because you don’t like abortions and you’ve romanticized the idea of a woman dying in childbirth and sacrificing her own life for that of her unborn child.

The other is because the women had too hard a time coming up with the money for an abortion early on in the pregnancy. An abortion in the first trimester costs about $650, but if they aren’t able to come up with that money then, they will end up having to pay about $1850 a few weeks later. Which is a horrifying prospect, but still cheaper the cost of pre-natal care (about $2000 without insurance) and the cost of giving birth in a hospital ($15,800 for an uncomplicated C-section, $9,600 for an uncomplicated vaginal birth, at least in 2008).

So if you’re really worried about those fetuses you want to pretend feel actual pain, maybe start supporting abortion being covered by insurance–making first trimester abortions more easily obtained. Or support getting rid of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents abortion being covered by Medicaid. Not to mention supporting subsidized birth control to prevent them from being a necessity in the first place.

In fact, if you really want women to consider adoption over abortion, you could even push bills to completely subsidize the cost of pregnancy and giving birth! If you want women to be able to consider keeping the child, support subsidized day care, WIC, food stamps and other things that would actually make it possible for that child to have a good, healthy life. Try giving one iota of crap about children who have already made it out of the womb, and then, perhaps, I will perhaps consider the prospect of you actually being sincere about any of this bullshit. [ThinkProgress]