We Need a Law Director Mike Schouten says the bill is a big step in the protection of the unborn, because it would essentially ban abortion after 20 weeks. “In its current form, it includes exceptions for rape and incest and for the (protection of the) health of the mother, so this obviously is not favourable from a pro-life perspective, but as (WeNeedaLaw has been saying), it’s certainly better to save some than (to) save none, so we view this as a very positive step.”
Schouten says pro-lifers in the US took a very deliberate lobbying tactic to get lawmakers to even consider this bill. “The significant and exciting part of this is that the pro-life movement in the United States has been very effective at keying in on the pain – the fetal pain – and the reality that we know that at 20 weeks, fetuses recoil from pain; that they feel pain in a similar way that you or I would. And they’ve used that to really build support” for the bill.
There is some question about the law’s ultimate fate, though. President Donald Trump has indicated he’ll sign it if it hits his desk, but the Senate isn’t making this a big priority, which means it could be months before anything happens.
And even then, Schouten says, pro-lifers might be forgiven for being a little bit skeptical: “We’ve seen a lot of pro-life legislation in the United States be introduced and passed, but then struck down by the courts. And I think that this piece of legislation – if passes through all three legislative bodies – will be subject to a court challenge at some point, and we’re not exactly sure what would transpire then.” He says there’s also a certain degree of skepticism because in the past, when this kind of legislation has been introduced, one or more of the three legislative bodies, (the House, the Senate, or the White House), haven’t passed them. Schouten says in that sense, “it’s ok to have some skepticism, although this time around the White House seems more favourably disposed to this type of legislation than previous administrations” have been.