House Committee Hears Pain Capable Abortion Bill

The Missouri House Children and Families Committee heard testimony this week on HB 1266, sponsored by Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R-Cape Girardeau), which would make it illegal in Missouri to perform an abortion after 22 weeks, a point at which an unborn child is capable of feeling pain.

The Missouri Catholic Conference, Missouri Right to Life, Campaign Life Missouri, and others testified in support of the bill. Dr. Kathi Aultman of the Charlotte Lozier Institute offered powerful testimony in favor of the bill and outlined the science establishing the fact that unborn children have sufficiently developed nervous systems to permit them to sense and feel pain at 22 weeks.  

As expected, the legislation was opposed by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the ACLU, who each argued it is an unconstitutional infringement on a woman’s right to choose.  

The U.S. Senate also addressed the issue this week, taking a procedural vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, passed last fall by the U.S. House. The vote failed 51 in favor to 46 opposed, 60 votes being needed to prevent a filibuster.  Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-life Activities, called the vote, and the corresponding failure to end abortion at 20 weeks “appalling.” There are only six countries that permit abortion after 20 weeks, including the United States and North Korea.