Rep. Black Leads the Fight to Pass Pain-Capable Legislation in the House

May 13, 2015 Issues: Pro-Life

Watch Congressman Black's remarks in support of H.R. 36 HERE or by clicking the image above 

Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse for more than 40 years, spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 36, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This legislation would provide federal legal protection for unborn children at 20 weeks, with exceptions to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest. Congressman Black is a cosponsor of this pro-life initiative and led debate in support of the legislation on the House floor.

Following Congressman Black’s remarks, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 36 by a vote of 242 to 184. To watch a video of Congressman Black’s speech, click here. A complete transcript is provided below:

Madam Speaker, when I became a nurse more than 40 years ago, I took a vow to "devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care” but, initially, our understanding of science limited the extent to which I could fulfill that promise.

During my first years of nursing, if a woman came into my hospital in labor at 32 weeks of pregnancy, our odds for saving her child were slim. However, today babies are being saved as early as 22 weeks into fetal development according to a study cited just last week in the New York Times. What’s more, there is significant evidence that by 20 weeks of development, unborn children have the capacity to feel pain.

Sadly, while we celebrate advances in technology that prove life has value and worth before leaving the hospital, we also continue to be one of only seven nations that allow elective, late-term abortions .

It is difficult to imagine a more important measure of a society than how it treats its most innocent and defenseless population. By condoning the destruction of unborn life that could otherwise live outside the womb, the United States tragically fails to meet this most fundamental human rights standard. Basic decency and human compassion demands that something has to change.

Polls consistently show that upwards of 60 percent of Americans support putting an end to the dangerous and inhumane practice of late-term abortions – so to be clear, we have a mandate to act. That is why I strongly support the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act this week, which will provide federal legal protection for unborn children at 20 weeks, with exceptions to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape and incest.

Today’s vote coincides with the two-year anniversary of the conviction of the evil abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who killed babies born alive in his “clinic” and is responsible for the death of an adult woman.

Americans were rightfully outraged when told of his crimes, but the truth is that innocent, unborn children routinely suffer the same fate as Gosnell’s victims through “normal” late-term abortions and the government does not bat an eye. The only difference between these casualties and the loss of life that resulted in Gosnell’s murder conviction is location.

Madam Speaker, if we cannot appeal to my pro-abortion lawmakers’ sense of compassion when it comes to this issue, then surely we can at least appeal to their sense of logic and fact.

Knowing that premature babies are being saved as early as 22 weeks into fetal development, there is no legitimate reason to oppose this bill. In the year 2015, the United States has no business aborting a life that can live outside the womb. Science agrees and so do the majority of Americans. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will right this wrong.  

PHOTO: Rep. Black Speaks at House Republican Press Conference in Support of H.R. 36
Rep. Black Lauds Upcoming House Vote on Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
New York Times: Premature Babies May Survive at 22 Weeks if Treated, Study Finds


Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees