Pro-life Republicans are pushing another 20-week abortion ban to the floor of the House, despite the fact that it would head for certain failure in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The bill, headed by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), will be more of a symbolic gesture for the pro-life supporters, most of whom are determined to slowly chip away at the Roe v. Wade ruling. In Roe v. Wade, abortions are allowed up until about 24 weeks, which is the generally considered point of viability for a fetus by doctors. Pro-life supporters, however, contend that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, and so 20 weeks should instead be the cut off point for the procedure.
Many Democrats and moderate Republicans are frustrated with the bill and have complained now is not the time for symbolic bills, especially ones attempting to attack a Supreme Court ruling. Focusing on more pressing issues, such as job creation and immigration reform, would be a better use of the legislators’ time.
Franks and other pro-life supporters attempted to use the high-profile murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell to fuel their agenda, but have largely failed.
Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison in May 2013 after being found guilty of three counts of murder. Seven newborns and a patient died on Gosnell’s watch during botched abortions, but as the public is well aware, Gosnell is a far cry from a responsible abortion doctor. Some of the charges against him alleged that after delivering babies alive during attempted abortions, he snipped spinal cords to kill them — acts more reminiscent of a butcher than a doctor.
Arguing that abortion doctors are guilty of the same atrocities of Gosnell is much like arguing responsible gun owners are guilty of the same atrocities of mass murderers.
Symbolic bills have a time and place in Congress, but Franks’ use of this flawed logic as a rationale for his symbolic bill only works to move society backward, throwing a useless wrench in an already gridlocked Congress.