WASHINGTON – “We are proud of Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer and Minnesota Representative Collin Peterson for cosponsoring this Act to ban painful late-term abortions,” John Helmberger, Chief Executive Officer of Minnesota Family Council, said in a press release. “Regardless of party lines, every member of Congress must recognize that research proves preborn children can feel pain at 20 weeks.”
Alpha News reached out to the offices of Reps. Betty McCollum, Tim Walz, and Rick Nolan to discuss their votes against the bill but received no reply. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s office likewise did not respond to a request to discuss his yes vote.
Rep. Collin Peterson was the only Democrat of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation to vote in favor of limiting late-term abortions, joining all Republicans from the state in voting to limit abortions after the child can feel pain.
H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, had 182 cosponsors in the House, only two of whom were Democrats. In the final 237-189 vote, that increased to three Democrats, with two Republicans voting against the act.
Peterson was joined by Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL3) in voting for the bill. In addition, Peterson was one of two Minnesota Congressmen sponsoring the bill, with the other being Republican Rep. Tom Emmer.
The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, as that is a generally medically accepted point at which an unborn child begins to react to stimuli in a manner that would be recognized as reacting to pain if an already born person were seen to react in that way. Congress reaffirms that in a Congressional declaration at the beginning of the bill.
“The position, asserted by some commentators, that the unborn child remains in a coma-like sleep state that precludes the unborn child experiencing pain is inconsistent with the documented reaction of unborn children to painful stimuli and with the experience of fetal surgeons who have found it necessary to sedate the unborn child with anesthesia to prevent the unborn child from engaging in vigorous movement in reaction to invasive surgery,” reads the declaration. “Consequently, there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier.”
The bill’s ban includes exceptions for danger to the mother’s life, rape, and incest. Physicians terminating a pregnancy under these exceptions would be required to do so in the manner which gives the unborn child the best chance of surviving the procedure.
A woman who receives an abortion in violation of these new restrictions would not be able to held criminally liable. Physicians who perform such procedures however could face fines and up to five years in prison.