(Opinion) Sometime Monday the U.S. Senate will take initial votes on a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the point when an overwhelming amount of evidence shows an unborn child can feel pain from the gruesome procedure.
Most Americans – and most Alabamians – support the bill but Democrats plan to block the legislation with the filibuster.
Will Sen. Doug Jones join them?
When the bill, known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, passed the House last fall, then-candidate Jones appeared on MSNBC and was asked whether he’d support the measure if elected.
“You wouldn’t be in favor of legislation that said ban abortion after 20 weeks, or something like that?” asked the host.
“No, I’m not in favor of anything that is going to infringe on a woman’s right and her freedom to choose,” Jones said. “That’s just the position that I’ve had for many years, it’s the position I continue to have.”
The television host was visibly surprised at the hardline stance taken by Jones, and so were folks back home in Alabama.
Jones later attempted to clarify the remarks, telling local reporters that “the law for decades has been that late-term procedures are generally restricted except in the case of medical necessity. That’s what I support.”
That’s … not actually true.
A woman can have an abortion at any time and for any reason in the United States. In fact, we live in one of only seven nations that allow abortions after 20 weeks: Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and … the United States.
You’re not alone if you find that factoid unbelievable. Last fall the Washington Post unleashed its renowned Fact Checker team to dispel the pro-life talking point, hoping to give it several Pinocchios for being false.
Instead, the newspaper was forced to give it the ‘Geppetto Checkmark’ for accuracy.
It’s the truth.
Here are some other facts Jones should consider:
— An article published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association titled “Fetal Pain: A Systematic Multidisciplinary Review of the Evidence,” found that pain sensors were in the unborn child’s entire body by 16 weeks and linked to the child’s brain no later than 20 weeks.
— A journal called Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy recommended in 2012 that unborn children be given painkillers during potential painful medical procedures.
— The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists wrote in 2012 that, “the basis for pain perception appear at about 20 to 22 weeks from conception.”
If the opinions of doctors don’t matter, consider those of the people:
–– Nearly 60 percent of Alabamians believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
— 64 percent of all Americans support banning abortions after the second trimester (13 weeks), according to Gallup.
— The Polling Company/WomanTrend recently found that 64 percent of voters nationwide support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
And to the pro-choice extremists who always ask “what about rape, incest or the life of the mother?” as if those were the majority of abortions – the bill makes exceptions for those extremely rare cases.
But amid this discussion of reports, studies and polls, let’s not forget what actually happens during an abortion. In the simplest terms, a doctor injects poison into the unborn child’s beating heart, uses steel clamps and snips to rip her arms and legs from her body, pulls the pieces out one by one, and then tosses her broken body into the trash.
One doesn’t need a medical degree to know that such a thing is painful.
One only needs a conscience.
Monday, we’ll find out if Doug Jones has one.
(J. Pepper Bryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of “American Warfighter.”)