Thursday, May 28, 2015

The House Acts to Save a Small Number of Fetal Humans

The House of Representatives recently held a vote on the persistent and contentious abortion issue. At issue was a piece of legislation known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (“PCUCPA”) of 2015. If the bill passed by the House were to become law, it would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks gestation in almost all cases. The House finally got around to holding the vote after a stumble on the issue back at the start of the new Congress, in January.

The bill rests on the House’s factual conclusion that fetal humans – as a matter of their biology, their physiological development, not only respond to sensation, but experience sensation as pain. The medical community continues to debate the exact point in time when sensation becomes pain. The House, relying on its investigation of the science, concluded that by twenty weeks gestation, the fetal human experiences pain. Based on that conclusion, with the exception of certain pregnancies (rape, incest, life of the mother endangered), the House approved an Act that prohibits all abortions after twenty weeks gestation.

Of course, “many's the slip betwixt cup and lip.”

First, substantial doubt exists that the Senate would pass the bill.

To do so, the Republican Leadership would have to have the stomach for a legislative engagement on principles key to the base of the Republican Party base. Thus far, there is no evidence that McConnell & Co. possess the will to do so. Even if the Republican Senate Leadership considered the bill, before it could be brought for a vote, any filibuster by Democrats or the left-side Republicans would have to be overcome. Again, the fix for a filibuster is simple, as Democratic Leader Harry Reid showed when, as Senate Leader, he accomplished the destruction of the filibuster as a tool to prevent votes on judicial nominees of Barack Obama. But we can engage in infantile fantasies and pretend that McConnell might have a testicular transplant from Reid, end legislative filibusters and bring the PCUCPA to a vote, doubt still would persist that a majority of the Senate could be garnered to pass the bill.

Second, even if Congress approved the bill and sent it to the President for signature, no doubt exists that Barack Obama would veto the bill. Obama’s record of support for unrestricted abortion is clear, going back to his service in the Illinois Senate where he fought to prevent that body from adopting a law that would have imposed on doctors a duty to provide care to children born alive following a failed abortion. His now-famous blessing of Planned Parenthood while President, his admission that he views pregnancies as mistakes and that he would not want his daughters to be punished by being compelled to carry an accidental pregnancy to term, these things all make the Oval Office obstacle clear and certain.

Following House passage, the foregoing reality, that the PCUCPA has little likelihood of ever passing the Senate, and no likelihood of avoiding a presidential veto, did not keep the Chicken Little Squad of the Abortion Party on the sidelines. Rather, as predictable as ever, they sprang into full hysteria mode:

Their hysterics belie the certainty known to each of these panic-peddlers: the PCUCPA will never become law, not while the Senate's Republican majority is so slim.

Mind you, Republicans hold a governing majority in the Senate. Yet, the Republicans continue to enforce the Senate Rule on Cloture, and the historical practice of the filibuster. They adhere to the historical practice of the filibuster despite the precedent set by Senate Democrats when they held the majority. Then, impatience over judicial holds and the pace of confirmation votes by the Senate led Senate Majority Leader to abandon the Senate's historical practice of the filibuster in the cases of consideration of executive and judicial nominations.

Now, the Republicans have the Senate, and Mitch McConnell has the Republicans. But McConnell continues obeying the tattered, torn and Harry Reid-scorned Filibuster and Cloture Rule. Even if the Senate Republican Leadership ends the filibuster and brings the Act to a vote, even if the Senate passes the House’s bill, it would not become law. Barack Obama is president, and he is, by record, the most pro-abortion president in our history.

Still, panic-peddling works has its value. It demonstrates the peddlers' commitment to a core progressive issue, and it serves the fund-raising purposes of abortion partisan groups.