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Pro-Lifers Push to Ban Late-Term Abortions in Nation’s Capital

11:04 AM, Jul 25, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Of course, pro-choice Democrats point to some studies that contend unborn children can’t feel pain until a few weeks beyond what the D.C. bill would ban. They also argue that the issue should be left to the D.C. city council (supporters of the ban point out the law would be perfectly constitutional; Congress has explicit constitutional authority over the District and banned slavery there during the Civil War). But this isn’t an argument Democrats want to have.

Nancy Pelosi declined to comment on the bill last Thursday, after the Judiciary Committee had passed the bill. “I’m just not familiar with it. I’m sorry,” Pelosi told THE WEEKLY STANDARD following her weekly press conference.  During a subcommittee on the hearing in May, New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler slipped up and accidentally referred to an unborn child protected by the bill as “a preemie at 20 weeks in utero” before catching himself. “Excuse me,” Nadler said, “a fetus at 20 weeks in utero.” 

The White House has not yet issued a statement on the bill. The issue of late-term abortion has tripped up Obama in the past. “I have repeatedly said that I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother,” Obama said in 2008. “Now, I don’t think that ‘mental distress’ qualifies as the health of the mother.” But days later he backtracked on the issue. 

Despite the law’s popularity—there are 221 cosponsors in the House—it’s not clear that the House GOP leadership will bring the bill to the floor.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has not scheduled a vote on it.*

“We are urging strongly for there to be a vote,” says NRLC’s Douglas Johnson. “If it’s not brought up and passed in the House, it’s going to be viewed by many Americans as a dereliction or some kind of a ratification of this policy that they’ve learned about and are outraged by.”

*Update: The House leadership announced on Thursday that it will vote on the late-term ban on July 31.

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