By Sen. John Thune
Recently in the Senate, we took a vote on an important human rights bill, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bill would protect unborn children who have reached the age of 20 weeks – that’s five months of pregnancy – from being killed by abortion.
Right now, there are only seven countries in the world that allow elective abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The United States is one of them. Among the others are China and North Korea. As I’ve said before, I don’t think that’s the company Americans want to be keeping when it comes to protecting human rights.
Unfortunately, we’re going to be keeping company with those countries a little longer, since Democrats in the Senate chose to block us from moving forward on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
This legislation should be a no-brainer. The scientific evidence is clear: At 20 weeks, unborn babies feel pain. 63 percent of the American people support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and I’m not surprised. Take a look at a five-month old unborn baby on an ultrasound. It’s pretty obvious that that’s a human being. And most people instinctively know that human beings, no matter how small they are, are worthy of protection.
While it’s hard to believe that so many of my colleagues would oppose this bill, I’m not giving up. A majority of the U.S. Senate and a majority of the American people agree with what we’re trying to do, and I’m going to keep speaking up for the most vulnerable among us and supporting efforts to get this bill passed.
And I am hopeful for the future. Last month, we had the national March for Life in Washington, D.C. Tens of thousands of people from across the country – including a number of South Dakotans, like the Jacks for Life group at South Dakota State University – marched from the National Mall to the Supreme Court to stand up for the right to life.
As I always am, I was struck by how many of the marchers are young people. Teenagers. College students. Young adults. Young people aren’t just participating in the pro-life movement – they’re leading it. They know that every life is precious and worthy of protection, and they’re not afraid to stand up and say it.
While we may suffer temporary defeats like we did in the Senate recently, with these young people leading the way, I am confident that our nation is moving toward the day when every child, born and unborn, is protected in law. And I will keep fighting in Congress to bring that day closer.