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In the past I have written about my Representative Jackie Walorski, playing a key role in stopping The House Bill in January that would have stopped most abortions after 20 weeks. In my local South Bend Tribune today there was an op/ed from Rachel Drumm, the President of Notre Dame Right to Life that supports my position and I wanted to share the text of her column:

As science continues to charge down the road of exploration and discovery, more is becoming known about human life before birth. Three-dimensional ultrasounds are becoming commonplace and one inventive company does a 3D printout of the baby in womb weeks before birth. Science has even begun to figure out when babies in the womb feel pain. While this area of research is still developing, many studies have shown that fetal pain occurs no later than 20 weeks of gestation — which is why many states and the U.S. Congress have looked at banning abortions after that point in pregnancy.

At 20 weeks, a woman is halfway through her pregnancy. The unborn baby is about the size of a mango, is able to practice swallowing, and if a woman gets an ultrasound at this point, the technician can typically tell the baby’s gender.

By eight weeks after fertilization, the fetus has been shown to respond to external stimuli such as touch, and by 20 weeks studies observed reactions to painful stimuli. In performing surgeries, fetal anesthesia is administered to decrease stress hormones. “At 20 weeks, the fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body, and their electrical activity can be recorded by standard electroencephalography (EEG),” explains Dr. Paul Ranalli, a neurologist at the University of Toronto.

The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton gave women the ability to have an abortion legally for any reason. Sixty-four percent of Americans think abortion should be illegal in the second trimester and that number jumps to 80 percent for third trimester abortions, according to Gallup.

The U.S. House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on a bill in January that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of gestation with an exception for reported rape and incest. The House passed this same bill in 2013 but the Senate failed to take it up.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Jimtown, who ran on a pro-life platform, publicly pulled her name as a co-sponsor the day before the March for Life in Washington, D.C., which was the same day the bill was scheduled for a vote. Along with opposition from another supposedly pro-life congresswoman, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., Walorski caused a media firestorm about party infighting.

Notre Dame Right to Life sent 675 students to the March for Life this year. We were very disappointed that the pain-capable bill was not voted on that day and in Walorski’s participation in making sure that it was pulled. Our generation — millennials — support the ban on abortion after 20 weeks by the largest margin of any age group.

Why would Walorski, a supposedly pro-life representative, purposely stall this bill, which has broad support across the board?

Ellmers and Walorski implied that part of their misgivings about the bill was that of the rape reporting requirement. They claimed that since most rapes aren’t reported, it would be insensitive of the government to make a rape victim report the crime in order to have a late-term abortion. It should be noted that only 1 percent of women in a 2004 survey cite rape as the reason for their abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The trauma experienced by rape victims certainly should never be disregarded; however, the pain caused in taking the life of the child cannot be ignored either.

Taking the life of a baby in the womb, especially that far along in pregnancy, is inhumane. An abortion alone is tragic. An abortion at five months of gestation or beyond is horrific. The least pro-life representatives can do — especially those who run on the pro-life platform like Walorski — is to support and advocate for legislation that bans abortion when the child is able to feel pain.

Rachel Drumm is president of Notre Dame Right to Life.

My response I sent into the paper:

On March 7th the South Bend Tribune ran a Viewpoint piece titled “Stalled bill sends mixed message” from Rachel Drumm, the President of Notre Dame Right to Life decrying Jackie Walorski’s leadership role in stopping H.R. 36 the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” that would have stopped most abortions after 20 weeks from coming up for a vote in the House. I would like to commend Ms. Drumm for sharing this as it completely expresses my opinion.

I generally vote Republican as, in theory, they support my conservative, small government values but while I have problems with Jackie Walorski’s follow the (Republican) leader pattern, her action in this will lead me to never vote for her again. I truly hope that someone runs and wins a primary campaign against her, barring that I would cast a write in vote or skip that line completely in the 2016 election.

Mark Watkins
South Bend IN 46635

 

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