District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Floor Speech

Date: July 31, 2012
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Abortion


Mr. AKIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in full support for H.R. 3803, the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This legislation affects the District of Columbia, which, operating under authority delegated by Congress, repealed all limitations on abortion at any stage of pregnancy, effective April 29, 2004.

H.R. 3803 would outlaw abortion in the District of Columbia on an unborn child 20 weeks or more after fertilization, except ``if, in reasonable medical judgment, the abortion is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself,'' but not including psychological disorders or threats of self-injury.

An unborn child can react to touch merely 8 weeks after fertilization, and after 20 weeks, the child can feel pain. At this 20-week mark, a child will recoil from painful stimuli and show significant increases in stress hormones, and fetal anesthesia is routinely administered to children who undergo surgery while still in the womb. There is significant medical evidence supporting the child's ability to experience pain at 20 weeks, if not earlier, and the unlimited abortion currently allowed in the District of Columbia is simply inhumane.

I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3803, which is a morally necessary and common-sense piece of legislation, and I support it fully. Additionally, I firmly believe that our nation must protect human life at all stages, and unborn children are no exception. During my time in Congress, I have stood against abortion and supported numerous pieces of pro-life legislation. I am also a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, and I will continue to fight to protect the lives of the unborn in any way I can.