Kyle Wingfield

Political commentary and opinion from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's conservative blogger

House to vote on late-term abortion ban


Here's your early warning of next week's big political fight :

"The House of Representatives will vote on a bill next week that would ban nearly all late-term abortions, House majority leader Kevin McCarthy tells the Weekly Standard. The legislation would establish a national limit on abortion at 20 weeks after conception -- five months into pregnancy -- which is the gestational age at which infants can of feel pain and survive long-term if born prematurely.

"'Life is precious and we must do everything we can to fight for it and protect it,' said McCarthy, a California Republican. 'Our commitment for the House to consider this important legislation has been steadfast and I am proud of the work of our members to prepare this bill for House consideration next week.'"

The left will howl once again about social conservatives run amok, but the unlimited-abortion-on-demand lobby are the real extremists here. The United States is one of only seven countries to allow elective abortions after 20 weeks; the others are China, North Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada and the Netherlands. Other countries still allow abortions after that point under certain circumstances, and the U.S. still would, too, under this law. A previous disagreement within the House GOP caucus about reporting requirements for rape victims who seek an abortion after 20 weeks -- there wasn't, and isn't, any talk about such restrictions for such women before the 20-week mark -- has been resolved, the Weekly Standard's Michael Warren reports :

"The bill (previously) required the crime to be reported to law enforcement officials at any point prior to performing a late-term abortion.

"According to House Republicans, that requirement has been removed from the bill. Instead, the legislation requires abortion doctors to ensure that victims have received either medical treatment or licensed counseling at least 48 hours prior to the late-term procedure. With that change, the bill has assuaged the concerns of those Republican members while still garnering strong support of national pro-life groups, including the National Right to Life Committee and the Susan B. Anthony List.

"'I'm proud we've gotten to a point where we found a consensus between our members and the pro-life groups out there,' said Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee."

Again, these requirements apply only after the 20-week period during which elective abortions would remain legal.

It's not only the vast majority of other countries that see good reason to restrict late-term abortions. Americans have become more and more dissatisfied with our current, permissive abortion laws over the past decade and a half. While about half of Democrats polled by Gallup earlier this year said they were satisfied, those were dissatisfied were as likely to say they'd like to see more restrictions as to say they wanted fewer. Independents were about 2.5 times as likely to say they wanted more restrictions and, unsurprisingly, Republicans were six times as likely to seek more restrictions.

While Republican presidential candidates are being asked if they'd attend a gay wedding, perhaps it's time for reporters to ask Democratic candidates if they support elective abortions once the fetus is capable of feeling pain and of living after a premature birth. That'd be helpful if we truly want to determine who's an out-of-touch extremist when it comes to social issues.

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About the Author

Kyle Wingfield joined the AJC in 2009. He is a native of Dalton and a graduate of the University of Georgia.