(CNSNews.com) – A crowd of pro-life millennials gathered outside of Rep. Renee Ellmers’ (R-N.C.) office on Thursday to express their anger with her for delaying and attempting to dilute the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The Republican House leadership had initially intended to hold a vote on the bill on Thursday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, but delayed it after Ellmers complained.
Ellmers claimed the bill would cost the Republican Party support from millennials, a claim that Students for Life of America leader Kristan Hawkins countered with a new poll that shows most millenials favoring prohibiting abortion.
“There is no reason, in our country today that we should allow these barbaric abortions to be performed," Hawkins said of abortion that take place five months or more into pregnancy.
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would have prohibited the abortion of babies 20 weeks or later into gestation unless they were conceived in rape or incest, or if the life of the mother was at risk. The bill says that the rape exception would only allow terminating the life of an unborn child at 20 weeks or later into pregnancy if the rape was reported to law enforcement.
Ellmers initially supported the 20-week abortion ban but wanted the reporting requirement for the rape exeption removed. Ellmers expressed concern that voting on the legislation would alienate millennials.
Following the dissent of Ellmers and others the bill was pulled late on Wednesday in a move that angered many pro-lifers, including pro-life millennials.
“A new poll that came out yesterday showed that 59 percent of millennials, those you see here and more coming who were with us today in the March for Life that were over 500,000 strong are pro-life,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America (SFLA) said, referencing a Knights of Columbus survey.
“When the congresswoman was speaking about this bill and the fetal pain bill and why she was urging leadership not to vote, I think that was an act, that was being a coward, and I’m really disappointed,” said Hawkins, surrounded by numerous women and woman who appeared to be of high school and college age, outside Ellmers’ office.
Hawkins and those women, many from the SFLA, came to protest Ellmers’ decision. The SFLA, one of the nation’s most active pro-life youth organizations, trains high school, college, and graduate school students as pro-life activists.
"The Republican Party says they want to reach out to millennials," Hawkins said. "If you want to reach out to millennials, you need to be pro-life.”
“Also, millennials are looking for someone to stand, someone with courage, someone who’s going to stand up for their beliefs and by doing this, by this act of cowardice ,it is not helping the GOP with its millennial outreach,” said Hawkins. “In fact, it is setting us back for years.”
Hawkins said Students for Life has “a lot of young people that we mobilize every election year.”
“All the politicians come to us and say we need young people out there voting for us, going door-knocking, making phone calls, and a lot of them aren’t Republicans and they don’t go out because they’re tied to the Republican Party,” she said. “They go out because they want to abolish abortion in this lifetime and that’s why they’re there.”
“So when Congresswoman Ellmers made those remarks, it attacked the credibility of our entire movement of young people,” she said. “This is the pro-life generation and we’re asking the congresswoman to reconsider and lead the other GOP women and say we need to bring this bill for a vote on the floor.”
“There is no reason, in our country today that we should allow these barbaric abortions to be performed. The majority of Americans, the vast majority of Americans are in favor of this bill, and they need to vote on it now, not three months from now. Right now.”
Jill Stanek, a nurse turned pro-life activist, also spoke outside of the office to express that she was “very disappointed, beyond disappointed in Congresswoman Ellmers for helping thwart this bill, this very important bill.”
“I held one of these little abortion survivors who was 21 weeks old for 45 minutes until he died and so I know personally that these babies feel excruciating pain when they die,” Stanek told those gathered outside Ellmers’ office. “So this 20-week abortion ban was very close to my heart…I’m here to stand for the baby that I held until he died on his behalf and implore her to support the bill again.”
Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition led those gathered in prayer.
“During the Roe v. Wade memorial when hundreds of thousands were coming with a new Congress, a Congress with the highest majority of Republicans in the House in many decades, a Senate now under the leadership of Mitch McConnell, they could not have sent a worse signal to the pro-life community,” said Rev. Mahoney.
“They in essence are getting us to ask the question, why should we work for a Republican Congress?” he said. “And there is a presidential election in 2016. I would just tell every Republican leader, I would tell Speaker Boehner: think about what happened today, learn from what happened today…and most importantly stand for the children.”
REp. Ellmers was not there at the time of the protest outside her office, but her staff spoke to the crowd.
“We’re writing down everything that’s being said and I assure you that the congresswoman will get this message that everybody is saying here today, but the best we can do is listen, write it down, and take it to her,” said Legislative Director Mitch Vakerics.
“If she knows we’re here, why can’t she show us the respect to come down here?” a protester asked.
“That’s a fair point, sir, that’s a fair question,” said Vakerics. “The congresswoman already had a pre-set up trip with other members of Congress to go to another state on a different issue that she could not get out of.”