Republicans Should Capitalize On SOTU By Pushing Pro-Life Legislation

Photo credit: Doug Mills, New York Times

President Trump took an incredibly strong stand for life in his State of the Union speech Tuesday.

“To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb,” Trump said.

But will Congress actually bring such legislation up for a vote?

There’s no time like the present.

With strong approval ratings across the board for President Trump’s address, why not capitalize on his current momentum? Republicans could immediately introduce, or re-introduce, substantive pro-life legislation.

In light of the national controversy surrounding the infanticide legislation in New York and Virginia that the President mentioned in his speech, a great place to start would be to bring the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to the floor.

This act would make it illegal to abort babies after 20 weeks. “Scientific studies have demonstrated that babies in the womb feel pain at twenty weeks,” Trump said one year ago when the bill was blocked by Senate Democrats. “The vote by the Senate rejects scientific fact and puts the United States out of the mainstream in the family of nations, in which only 7 out of 198 nations, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.”

The Pain Capable bill failed to advance in the U.S. Senate by nine votes.


Why not try again particularly in this moment, with public opinion at your backs, in the wake of the obvious overreach by New York and Virginia legislators?

Given the public outcry over New York and Virginia combined with the President pushing the issue in his well-received SOTU, Republicans must pounce on this opportunity. Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia gave the President a standing ovation when the President mentioned this bill. Others could follow suite, but only if Republicans show seriousness of purpose. 

We know “Republican” Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins won’t vote for it, but who cares? As long as they are there, that will always be the case. Their existence in the Senate is not a good excuse to give up on life.

Why won’t Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fight for the unborn – and in recent controversies, those already born – as hard as he has for other things? He could put the Pain Capable bill on the floor and keep taking cloture votes until it passes. That’s exactly what the Majority Leader did last week when he wasted time on silly show votes admonishing President Trump’s wish to bring home troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

“What was good enough for a Middle East security bill, should be good enough for these precious newborns,” Conservative Partnership Institute’s Rachel Bovard rightly notes.

Now is the time to strike. After a video of Virginia state delegate Kathy Tran saying abortion could be allowed up to “40 weeks” went viral and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam further exploded the issue by endorsing infanticide – the American people have been more vocal on the issue of life than any time in recent memory. The Democrats are at a significant political disadvantage here.

Polling on this issue proves that the majority of Americans oppose killing babies who are viable outside of the womb. This is not surprising to anyone who saw a hint of the passionate public objections to New York’s abortion bill passage, and the failed Virginia abortion bill.


President Trump brought up late-term abortion for a reason during his second State of the Union address. He knows the American people are with him on this front. 

“Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world,” Trump said Tuesday night.

“We had the case of the governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth,” Trump said, referencing Northam.

“Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life,” said Trump “And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”

Yes, let’s. Republicans, what are you waiting for?

David Bozell David Bozell

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