Rep. Won’t Say Why She Opposes 5-Month Abortion Ban Even If It ‘Saves One Life’

Elizabeth Harrington | June 18, 2013 | 4:37pm EDT
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Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) (AP)

( – Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) would not answer why she opposed a bill to ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks even if it would “save one life,” a rationale regularly used by Democrats when pushing for gun-control legislation.

On Tuesday, DeGette and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), co-chairs of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, led a press conference to oppose the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797), a bill that would ban abortions 20 weeks post-fertilization, or 5 months into pregnancy.

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(Video courtesy of Concerned Women for America.)

Following the press conference, asked DeGette, “Many Democrats, when they were arguing for gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting said even if this saves one life it will be worth doing.  Why not support this bill then, if it undoubtedly will save lives of babies that have been carried throughout 5 months of pregnancy?”

DeGette said, “Well, this is, this is. … We already have laws in many states of this country. This bill is blatantly unconstitutional.”

“And, and if you look at the perceived—if you look at the stated reason of doing this legislation the Kermit Gosnell case, that gentleman was convicted of murder and sentenced to life,” DeGette said.  “Any other questions?”

When tried to follow up, DeGette said, “No, excuse me.  Any other questions?”

Throughout the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children dead, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats said the nation must pass gun control legislation even if just one life is saved.

President Barack Obama holds a child as he mingles in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 14, 2013, where he hosted a Father's Day luncheon. Obama hosted fathers and their children as well as students and leaders from the Becoming a Man program at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago for the lunch. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try,” Obama said in January, when announcing his plans for an assault weapons ban and universal background checks for guns.

Obama repeated the line in February.  “No law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe,” he said.  “But if there's even one thing we can do, if there's just one life we can save, we've got an obligation to try.”

The House is set to vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on Tuesday.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the bill’s sponsor, said the impetus behind the bill was late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted last month of murdering three babies who survived abortions by severing their spinal cords with scissors in Philadelphia.

Gosnell routinely conducted late-term abortions after 24 weeks in abhorrent conditions and, according to the grand jury report, had likely killed  “hundreds” of infants who had survived abortions by severing their spinal cords.

“The trial of Kermit Gosnell exposed late-abortions for what they really are: relocated infanticide,” Franks said, earlier this month.  “I pray we use this as a ‘teachable moment,’ in the words of President Obama, and can agree that, at the very least, we are better than dismembering babies who can feel every excruciating moment.”

On his website, Rep. Franks said, “I know when the subject is related in any way to abortion, the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close, and the humanity of the unborn can no longer be seen. But I pray we can at least come together to agree that we can and should draw the line at the point that these innocent babies can feel the excruciating pain of these brutal procedures.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), author of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. (AP Photo)

"The case of Kermit Gosnell shocked the sensibilities of millions of Americans,” says Franks.  “However, the crushing fact is that abortions on babies just like the ones killed by Kermit Gosnell have been happening hundreds of times per day, every single day, for the past 40 years. Indeed, let us not forget that, had Kermit Gosnell dismembered these babies before they had traveled down the birth canal only moments earlier, he would have, in many places nationwide, been performing an entirely legal procedure. If America truly understands that horrifying reality, hearts and laws will change.

“Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are."

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