(CNSNews.com) – At a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham announced the introduction of legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks gestation nationwide, because unborn babies feel pain and should be protected from being “destroyed by an abortion.”
“We’re choosing today to speak up for all babies at 20 weeks and try to create legal protections under the theory that if you can feel pain, the government should protect you from being destroyed by an abortion, which I imagine would be a very painful way to die,” Graham said about the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
A similar bill has already been passed by the House of Representatives but will face opposition in the Senate where Graham admitted that there are probably not the 50 votes required to pass the legislation.
Nonetheless, Graham, bill co-sponsor Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and leaders of the pro-life community – including Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List – were hopeful that this bill could be a turning point in the fight against abortion on demand.
“The U.S. Senate is considering – for the first time since Roe versus Wade – protecting a class of unborn children at a certain stage,” Dannenfelser said. “Real lives will be saved.”
According to Graham’s office, the bill “would make it illegal for any person to perform, or attempt to perform, an abortion without first making a determination of the probable post-fertilization of the unborn child.”
The bill, like the one that passed in the House, does make an exception for rape, incest and “to save the life of the mother.”
Three easels were set up at the press conference, including one showing the development stage of an unborn child at 20 weeks gestation. Among the developments at 20 weeks – taken from the website WebMD – are that an unborn child can “respond to sound” and is about 11 ounces, or the size of a banana.
“But one thing I hope we can all agree on it is not a banana,” Graham said. “We’re not talking about a piece of fruit here.
“We’re talking about a baby that science and medicine is urging the parents to talk to, because they can hear you,” he said. “The question for us: Should we remain silent as a society?
“Or should we speak up?” Graham said. “Should we speak on behalf of these babies?”
Graham said the answer is “yes,” and “the state has a compelling interest in protecting that unborn child apart from medical liability.”
Graham said even if there are not enough votes to pass the bill, he will push for debate and a vote on the legislation.
Other pro-life groups represented at the press conference were the Family Research Council, National Black Pro-life Union, Concerned Women for America, the National Right to Life and The Catholic Association.
Cosponsors of the bill include the following Republican senators: John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).