KERRY HUBARTT: Failure to pass ‘pain-capable’ bill an act of cowardice

Kerry Hubartt

At a time when the division between Republicans and Democrats seems as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon, at least in Indiana that divide disappeared in a Senate vote Monday that still proved profoundly disappointing to those of us who advocate for the lives of the unborn.

Hoosier senators Todd Young, Republican, and Joe Donnelly, Democrat, both voted for passage of the legislation Young co-sponsored, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would protect unborn children at 20 weeks post-fertilization.

The procedural vote was 51-46, short of the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill. Donnelly was one of only three Democratic senators, all up for re-election in conservative states, who voted for the legislation. The others were Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Sadly, Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted with most Democrats to reject the bill.

Donnelly said before the vote that he supports the ban because he believes “all life is sacred. I am committed to protecting the sanctity of life.”

Young called for passage of the legislation in a speech on the Senate floor, saying, “The United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allows abortions after 20 weeks – a list which includes human rights violators like China and North Korea. This is not company we want to be in.”

Unfortunately, most Democrats take a position against the preservation of life within the womb, and in Monday’s vote went on record to support abortion at a stage of development horrific in the extreme.

“These senators publicly support dismembering, disembowling and crushing the skulls of unborn boys and girls that can feel pain,” Allen County Right to Life Executive Director Cathy Humbarger wrote after the vote this week. “The blood of these children is on the hands of these senators and everyone who votes for them.”

James Lankford, the junior Republican senator from Oklahoma, and Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, together wrote in Newsweek magazine before the vote, “This bill should receive widespread bipartisan support because it recognizes scientific and medical advances, affirms growing American opinion and catches our nation up with the rest of the world. … Ultrasounds show unborn babies at five months of pregnancy sucking their thumb, yawning, stretching and making faces — detailed 3-D images that we haven’t seen until the last decade. In utero, these babies have 10 fingers, 10 toes, a beating heart and unique DNA that is different than the mom and the dad — they are humans that deserve the right to live.”

I concur with the response by renowned Christian psychologist James Dobson, Ph.D., who stated after Monday’s vote, “The cowardice exhibited by some in the U.S. Senate flies in the face of logic, public opinion and human decency. Indeed, even a majority of Americans who are in favor of abortion support banning the practice after 20-weeks.

“Today, our political leaders decided that rather than acknowledge what any parent so easily understands – that a moving and kicking 20-week-old baby can feel pain and therefore should not be subjected to the mortal assault of a surgeon – is the height of cultural insanity.”

Kerry Hubartt is former editor of The News-Sentinel.