H.R.1797 - District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
To amend title 18, United States Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.
|Version||Word Count||Changes From Previous Version||Percent Change|
|Engrossed in House||1,777||17||36%|
|Introduced in House||3,600||n/a||n/a|
|Reported in House||2,434||41||60%|
|Referred in Senate||1,767||5 Show Changes Hide Changes||3%|
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SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY FOR ENACTMENT.
(1) Pain receptors (nociceptors) are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body and nerves link these receptors to the brain’s thalamus and subcortical plate by no later than 20 weeks after fertilization.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) By 8 weeks after fertilization, the unborn child reacts to touch. After 20 weeks, the unborn child reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human, for example, by recoiling.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) Subjection to such painful stimuli is associated with long-term harmful neurodevelopmental effects, such as altered pain sensitivity and, possibly, emotional, behavioral, and learning disabilities later in life.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) For the purposes of surgery on unborn children, fetal anesthesia is routinely administered and is associated with a decrease in stress hormones compared to their level when painful stimuli are applied without such anesthesia. In the United States, surgery of this type is being performed by 20 weeks after fertilization and earlier in specialized units affiliated with children’s hospitals.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(6) The position, asserted by some physicians, that the unborn child is incapable of experiencing pain until a point later in pregnancy than 20 weeks after fertilization predominately rests on the assumption that the ability to experience pain depends on the cerebral cortex and requires nerve connections between the thalamus and the cortex. However, recent medical research and analysis, especially since 2007, provides strong evidence for the conclusion that a functioning cortex is not necessary to experience pain.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(9) Substantial evidence indicates that structures used for pain processing in early development differ from those of adults, using different neural elements available at specific times during development, such as the subcortical plate, to fulfill the role of pain processing.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(10) The position, asserted by some commentators, that the unborn child remains in a coma-like sleep state that precludes the unborn child experiencing pain is inconsistent with the documented reaction of unborn children to painful stimuli and with the experience of fetal surgeons who have found it necessary to sedate the unborn child with anesthesia to prevent the unborn child from engaging in vigorous movement in reaction to invasive surgery.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(12) It is the purpose of the Congress to assert a compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(13) The compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain is intended to be separate from and independent of the compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage of viability, and neither governmental interest is intended to replace the other.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(14) Congress has authority to extend protection to pain-capable unborn children under the Supreme Court’s Commerce Clause precedents and under the Constitution’s grants of powers to Congress under the Equal Protection, Due Process, and Enforcement Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION.
‘Sec. 1532. Pain-capable unborn child protection
‘(a) Unlawful Conduct- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall be unlawful for any person to perform an abortion or attempt to do so, unless in conformity with the requirements set forth in subsection (b).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(1) The physician performing or attempting the abortion shall first make a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child or reasonably rely upon such a determination made by another physician. In making such a determination, the physician shall make such inquiries of the pregnant woman and perform or cause to be performed such medical examinations and tests as a reasonably prudent physician, knowledgeable about the case and the medical conditions involved, would consider necessary to make an accurate determination of post-fertilization age.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(2)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the abortion shall not be performed or attempted, if the probable post-fertilization age, as determined under paragraph (1), of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(i) 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 or emotional conditions; orCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(ii) the pregnancy is the result of rape, or the result of incest against a minor, if the rape has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to an appropriate law enforcement agency, or if the incest against a minor has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to an appropriate law enforcement agency or to a government agency legally authorized to act on reports of child abuse or neglect.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(C) Notwithstanding the definitions of ‘abortion’ and ‘attempt an abortion’ in this section, a physician terminating or attempting to terminate a pregnancy under an exception provided by subparagraph (B) may do so only in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive, unless, in reasonable medical judgment, termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk of--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(d) Bar to Prosecution- A woman upon whom an abortion in violation of subsection (a) is performed or attempted may not be prosecuted under, or for a conspiracy to violate, subsection (a), or for an offense under section 2, 3, or 4 of this title based on such a violation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(2) ATTEMPT AN ABORTION- The term ‘attempt’, with respect to an abortion, means conduct that, under the circumstances as the actor believes them to be, constitutes a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in performing an abortion.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(4) PERFORM- The term ‘perform’, with respect to an abortion, includes induce an abortion through a medical or chemical intervention including writing a prescription for a drug or device intended to result in an abortion.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(5) PHYSICIAN- The term ‘physician’ means a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery or osteopathic medicine and surgery, or otherwise legally authorized to perform an abortion.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(6) POST-FERTILIZATION AGE- The term ‘post-fertilization age’ means the age of the unborn child as calculated from the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(7) PROBABLE POST-FERTILIZATION AGE OF THE UNBORN CHILD- The term ‘probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child’ means what, in reasonable medical judgment, will with reasonable probability be the postfertilization age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is planned to be performed or induced.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(8) REASONABLE MEDICAL JUDGMENT- The term ‘reasonable medical judgment’ means a medical judgment that would be made by a reasonably prudent physician, knowledgeable about the case and the treatment possibilities with respect to the medical conditions involved.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(9) UNBORN CHILD- The term ‘unborn child’ means an individual organism of the species homo sapiens, beginning at fertilization, until the point of being born alive as defined in section 8(b) of title 1.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) CHAPTER HEADING IN CHAPTER- The chapter heading for chapter 74 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking ‘PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS’ and inserting ‘ABORTIONS’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) TABLE OF CHAPTERS FOR PART I- The item relating to chapter 74 in the table of chapters at the beginning of part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking ‘Partial-Birth Abortions’ and inserting ‘Abortions’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink