Hearings Begin on Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

60 Percent of Americans Support Protections for Pain-Capable Babies

COLUMBUS, Ohio--Today, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services heard sponsor testimony on Ohio Right to Life's premier legislation for 2015, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.B. 127). This legislation prohibits abortions in Ohio at the point at which pre-born babies can feel pain, which starts no later than 20 weeks gestation.

The legislation is sponsored by Senators Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Jay Hottinger (R-Newark). Between the House and Senate, thirty-three legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation. 

"With Kermit Gosnell's House of Horrors marked indelibly on the collective American conscience, it's no wonder there's a groundswell of support for legislation that protects 5-month pre-born babies from the pain of being dismembered," said Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. "The passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will chronicle the end of late-term abortion-on-demand in Ohio, bringing us in line with the rest of the developed world." 

In November 2014, The Quinnipiac University Poll found that 60% of Americans would support prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks, while only 33% opposed such legislation. Women voters strongly support such a law by 59-35%, while independent voters supported it by 56-36%. 

Significantly, the legislation challenges the viability limit on abortion restrictions, commonly triggered at 24 weeks, that the U.S. Supreme Court imposed in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. As of 2011, abortions in Ohio are prohibited at 24 weeks or the point of viability, which must be tested for at 20 weeks gestation. 

"In Ohio, I was fortunate enough to work with Ohio Right to Life for the enactment of our post-viability abortion ban in 2011," said Senator Peggy Lehner in her testimony. "Since passage of that legislation, abortions after 19 weeks gestation have decreased by 40%.

While we are encouraged by this trend, there is more to be done and frankly I see no reason why we cant do it together, setting aside our hardened positions on abortion rights and seeking a law that more clearly reflects our understanding of fetal development." 

Last month, the U.S. of Representatives passed similar legislation under Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). This week, the legislation is to be introduced in the U.S. Senate. Support for the legislation has quickly become the new pro-life "litmus test" for Republican presidential contenders, all of whom have endorsed the passage of the bill. 

Sponsors and Co-Sponsors of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

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Founded in 1967, Ohio Right to Life, with more than 45 chapters and local affiliates, is Ohio's oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement in Ohio, ORTL works through legislation and education to promote and defend innocent human life from conception to natural death. 


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Unborn Child Dignity Act

S.B. 254 & H.B. 417/419