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Portman Supports Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act


September 23, 2015 - 7:37 PM


Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) voted to protect life by supporting the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This legislation is based in science, has overwhelming public support, and is necessary to protect unborn children from painful and untimely deaths. This bill was authored by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C).

At the age of 20 weeks post fertilization, or at the beginning of six months according to most metrics, scientific evidence tells us an unborn child can feel pain. In fact, pain medication is administered directly to the unborn child in second-trimester fetal surgery, in addition to anesthesia. The unborn child shows physical, chemical, brain and stress responses demonstrating pain at this stage of development. 

“It's up to us to protect innocent life, and I'm disappointed that this critically important legislation was blocked by Senate Democrats,” said Portman. “With all of the innovative medical treatments now available, more Americans are realizing that we are talking about children that deserve protection and overwhelmingly believe that we need a law like this. These measures will protect unborn babies and make a strong statement that we value all life, regardless of what stage, and I will continue to fight for them to be signed into law.”

“Ohio Right to Life and our statewide membership thank Senator Rob Portman for taking a stand at such a pivotal time as this,” said Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “As the ongoing Planned Parenthood scandal brings the horrors of abortion to the front of the collective American conscience, it is critical that our leaders set themselves apart and guide our nation towards protecting the dignity of every human person. We are grateful to Senator Portman for doing just that.”

Portman discussed the need to protect life on the Senate floor yesterday. Video can be found here

Portman has consistently voted to protect the unborn and has a 100% pro-life voting record from National Right to Life Committee. While in Congress, he has voted for the passage of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, the bill to prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and authored the Child Custody Protection Act, which would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across a state line for an abortion if it would circumvent a state law requiring parental involvement in that minor's abortion. He also voted to prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions at hospitals on military bases.

A summary of the provisions can be found below:

  • The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would make it illegal for any person to perform, or attempt to perform, an abortion without first making a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child.
  • If the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is determined to be 20 weeks (which is six months according to most metrics) or greater, an abortion shall not be performed, unless –
    • It is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman;
    • The pregnancy is a result of rape and the woman has received medical treatment or counseling at least 48 hours prior to the abortion; or if she chooses to do so, has made a report to law enforcement; or
    • The pregnancy is a result of rape or incest against a minor and the abuse is reported to either social services or law enforcement.
  • The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.
  • A woman on whom an abortion was performed in violation of this Act may bring a civil action against the abortion provider in court to recover damages.
  • The abortion doctors are required to submit annual data to the National Center for Health and Statistics providing statistical information about abortions carried out after 20 weeks post-fertilization age.
  • The criminal punishment for a violation of this Act is imprisonment of up to five years, fines, or both.
  • The Act makes clear that a woman who receives an illegal abortion in violation of this act may not be prosecuted.
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