USCCB Pro Life Chairman Urges Passage of Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

September 29, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged theU.S. House of Representatives to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child ProtectionAct (H.R. 36). It is expected to come to the House floor the first week ofOctober. The bill, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), proposes a ban onabortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization.

In a September 29 letter to the House, Cardinal Dolanwrote, "All decent and humane people are repulsed by the callous and barbaroustreatment of women and children in clinics…that abort children after 20 weeks."

"Planned Parenthood's callous and disturbing practicesof harvesting fetal body parts from late-term abortions, partial-birthabortions, and the deplorable actions of late-term abortionist Dr. KermitGosnell…, have shocked our nation and led many Americans to realize that ourpermissive laws and attitudes have allowed the abortion industry to undertakethese procedures," Cardinal Dolan said, calling the 20-week ban a "common-sensereform."

The Cardinal offered reasons why "the proposed ban onabortion at 20 weeks after fertilization is a place to begin uniting Americanswho see themselves as 'pro-life' and as 'pro-choice'." The first centers on theexpanding range of fetal 'viability'. "The Supreme Court's past insistence thatunborn children must be 'viable' to deserve even nominal protection is notmeaningful or workable…[M]edical technology is moving the point of viabilityearlier in the pregnancy putting Roe on a collision course with itself."Second, there are life-threatening dangers to women undergoing abortions beyond20 weeks. Finally, addressing the proposal to perform late-term abortions in"mainstream" clinics, he notes that those clinics generally refuse to performthe risky procedures. "What does it say about us as a nation, if we will notact against abortions that even full-time abortionists find abhorrent?"Cardinal Dolan asked.

Cardinal Dolan reaffirmed the right to life of humansat every stage of development, and clarified that the Church remains committedto advocating for the full legal protection of all unborn children: "[E]verychild, from conception onward, deserves love and the protection of the law….[T]he real problems that lead women to consider abortion should be addressedwith solutions that support both mother and child."

For the full text of Cardinal Dolan's letter to theHouse of Representatives, visit:


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB,U.S. House of Representatives, Congress, Pain-Capable Unborn Child ProtectionAct (H.R. 36), Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), abortion, late-term abortion,viability, Roe v. Wade, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, Planned Parenthood, fetal organharvesting, civil rights, pro-life, 20-week abortion ban


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