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Representative Karen Handel

Representing the 6th District of Georgia

Handel Leads Debate of Pro-Life Bill on the House Floor

October 5, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Karen Handel today led floor debate on H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bill prohibits most elective abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization – or roughly 5 months into a pregnancy – when a substantial body of medical evidence shows that a baby in the womb can feel pain. H.R. 36 passed the House this evening by a vote of 237-189.

“Today, we understand so much more about a baby's development during pregnancy,” Rep. Handel said today on the House floor. “Hearts and minds are changing. How many of us have marveled at the vivid sonogram images of son, a niece, a grandchild? How many of us have been amazed and so grateful that babies born early -- as early as 20 weeks -- have a very real chance to survive?”

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is also known as Micah’s law, after Micah Pickering, who was born prematurely at 20 weeks. Today, now five years old, Micah leads a happy, healthy life.

The full remarks delivered by Rep. Handel on the House floor are included below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, also known as Micah's Law. This bill prohibits most elective abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization. That's the beginning of the 5th month of pregnancy -- that's the point in a pregnancy when a substantial body of medical evidence shows that a baby in the womb can feel pain.

HR 36 is humane legislation -- for babies AND for mothers. It includes exceptions for the life of the mother and in the case of rape or incest.Additionally, this bill imposes criminal liability only on the medical professional performing the abortion -- not the mother.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support ofH.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, also known as Micah's Law.This bill prohibits most elective abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization. That's the beginning of the 5th month of pregnancy -- that's the point in a pregnancy when a substantial body of medical evidence proves that a baby in the womb can feel pain.

HR 36 is humane legislation -- for babies AND for mothers. It includes exceptions for the life of the mother and in the case of rape or incest. Additionally, this bill imposes criminal liability only on the medical professional performing the abortion -- not the mother.

There is broad consensus within the medical community. Babies at 5 months in the womb are not only able to feel pain ... they can hear music and even respond to human voices.

America is 1 of only 7 countries in the world that still allows elective late-term abortions -- joining North Korea and China -- two of the world's most notorious human rights abusers.

Today, we understand so much more about a baby's development during pregnancy. Voluntarily terminating the life of an innocent baby -- when we KNOW that baby can feel pain -- can no longer be acceptable.

And, a majority of Americans agree.

Hearts and minds are changing. How many of us have marveled at the vivid sonogram images of son, a niece, a grandchild? How many of us have been amazed and so grateful that babies born early -- as early as 20 weeks -- have a very real chance to survive?

Mr. Speaker, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act reflects today's medical understanding about a baby's ability to feel pain. Micah's Law reflects the changed hearts and minds of Americans. Micah's Law reflects the higher aspirations of this nation to foster a culture of life.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 36. Thank you, and I yield back the remainder of my time.

FileRep. Karen Handel (R-GA) - Opening Statement on Pain-Capable Bill