In last week’s email, I discussed concerns regarding a federal 15-week abortion ban proposal. We received several responses, including from a Life Legal friend who argued that under a 15-week federal ban, at least a small fraction of babies could be saved in states that currently permit unrestricted abortion.
I understand his position. As pro-lifers we believe every single life is worthy of protection.
The problem is, there is no chance a federal 15-week ban can be enacted in the foreseeable future. Republicans currently control the House of Representatives yet could not even pass a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in the House. They were also unable to pass a bill that would have required congressional oversight over abortion spending.
To pass a 15-week ban, Republicans would have to control the House, Senate, and Executive. In the alternative, they would have to secure enough Democrat votes to pass such a proposal – but under the current party platform, no Democrat will be permitted to vote for a 15-week ban or any other restriction without a virtual certainty of losing his/her seat. Just ask former Rep. Dan Lipinski, who was ousted by his own party.
If Republicans do control all three branches after 2024 and assuming for the sake of argument that Congress has the authority to regulate abortion, then they should consider something more protective than a 15-week ban. There is no consensus among pro-lifers that abortion through 15 weeks is an acceptable compromise.
At 15 weeks, babies are already 4 to 6 ½ inches long and their mothers are well into the second trimester. Their major organs have formed, and most are functional. Kidneys filter toxins, the stomach and pancreas produce enzymes for digestion, and intestinal contractions have been occurring for 7 weeks. The heart has been beating for two months and has already beaten around 15,800,000 times. It pumps 26 quarts of blood per day. Each finger can move separately, meaning babies are able to explore their environment and respond to touch.
The brain produces 250,000 neurons per minute, making connections that will last into adulthood. Babies at 15 weeks can feel pain – and it is possible that this ability develops even earlier in the womb.
By 15 weeks, babies are far more developed than legislators want to admit.
A 15-week abortion ban – which can only be achieved under circumstances that would allow for more robust and effective restrictions on killing children in the womb – is not a compromise. It is a surrender.