WASHINGTON— Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). It is expected to come to the House floor the first week of October. The bill, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), proposes a ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization.
In a September 29 letter to
the House, Cardinal Dolan wrote, "All decent and humane people are repulsed by
the callous and barbarous treatment of women and children in clinics...that abort
children after 20 weeks."
callous and disturbing practices of harvesting fetal body parts from late-term
abortions, partial-birth abortions, and the deplorable actions of late-term
abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell..., have shocked our nation and led many Americans
to realize that our permissive laws and attitudes have allowed the abortion industry
to undertake these procedures," Cardinal Dolan said, calling the 20-week ban a
The Cardinal offered reasons
why "the proposed ban on abortion at 20 weeks after fertilization is a place to
begin uniting Americans who see themselves as 'pro-life' and as 'pro-choice'."
The first centers on the expanding range of fetal 'viability'. "The Supreme
Court's past insistence that unborn children must be 'viable' to deserve even
nominal protection is not meaningful or workable...[M]edical technology is moving
the point of viability earlier in the pregnancy putting Roe on a collision
course with itself." Second, there are life-threatening dangers to women
undergoing abortions beyond 20 weeks. Finally, addressing the proposal to
perform late-term abortions in "mainstream" clinics, he notes that those
clinics generally refuse to perform the risky procedures. "What does it say
about us as a nation, if we will not act against abortions that even full-time
abortionists find abhorrent?" Cardinal Dolan asked.
Cardinal Dolan reaffirmed
the right to life of humans at every stage of development, and clarified that
the Church remains committed to advocating for the full legal protection of all
unborn children: "[E]very child, from conception onward, deserves love and the
protection of the law.... [T]he real problems that lead women to consider
abortion should be addressed with solutions that support both mother and