The House voted to pass a late-term abortion ban Wednesday almost entirely along party lines, with the exception of four Republicans who voted against the bill and four Democrats who voted for it.
Republican Reps. Bob Dold (Illinois), Richard Hanna (New York), Charlie Dent (Pennsylvania) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (New Jersey) voted against 238 Republicans to oppose the 20-week abortion ban, in spite of scientific evidence babies can feel pain at that point.
“I have a clear record of supporting women’s choice in healthcare decisions, and this bill fails to protect those choices,” Dold said in a statement explaining his vote, referring to a woman’s “right” to choose to end an unborn child’s life.
The bill bans abortions after five months, when the unborn babies are capable of feeling pain, except in cases of rape, incest or to preserve the life of the mother. Women seeking a late-term abortion under the rape exemption are required to seek medical help or counseling at least 48 hours prior to the abortion.
A doctor may perform a late-term abortion under the exceptions only in a manner that provides the unborn baby the “best opportunity” to survive the abortion. If survival outside the womb is possible, a second doctor must be present, and if the baby survives the doctor must give it the same degree of care as a wanted baby born prematurely.
Hanna said he opposes late-term abortions generally and supports a ban on federal funding of abortion, but voted against this bill because it does not provide an exception for “the overall health of the mother,” or in cases where doctors determine the baby is doomed to die before, during or after the birth.
He also opposes the 48 hour waiting period for the rape exception, and recited a Democratic talking point that killing an unborn child is a matter of privacy. “Such decisions about a woman’s course of care should be made between her and her doctor—not the federal government,” he said in a lengthy statement explaining his vote.
Dent and Frelinghuysen did not release a statement explaining their vote against the bill or immediately respond to multiple requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar (Texas), Dan Lipinski (Illinois), Jim Langevin (Rhode Island) and Collin Peterson (Minnesota) voted against 180 Democrats in favor of the late-term abortion ban.
By 8 weeks after fertilization an unborn baby reacts to touch, and after 20 weeks, unborn children react to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human, the bill declares on behalf of Congress. And their stress hormones increase significantly in association with the pain.
The U.S. is one of just seven countries in the world that allow abortions after 20 weeks, joining only China, North Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada and the Netherlands.
Republican Rep. Jody Hice (Georgia) voted present. A spokeswoman for Hice told TheDCNF he couldn’t support the bill as written, but “he applauds all members who champion the pro-life movement, and would never vote against a measure that champions the pro-life movement.”
Republican Rep. Lou Barletta (Pennsylvania) couldn’t make the vote because he is recuperating from surgery, but is a cosponsor on the bill.
“We are talking about babies who are far enough along in their development that many parents are already deciding on names,” he said in a statement following the vote. “Science tells us that at five months, the babies feel pain. This legislation is justified and necessary in a moral and civil society.”