The horrific practice of late-term abortion was brought to the forefront of the abortion debate due in part to the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. The reality is that late-term abortion perpetrates the violent death on an unborn child who is fully capable of feeling pain.

The sad truth is the difference between the murders committed by Gosnell and legal abortion is not a matter of clinic conditions or even surgical form. It’s a matter of a few inches and a few minutes.

Gosnell’s murderous actions would have been perfectly legal in many states had they been done before the child was actually born. As we work to correct Roe and establish a society in which all people, no matter their stage of development, are protected, we can take steps to eliminate inhumane procedures like late-term abortion.

Several states have passed legislation making abortion illegal past the point that an unborn child is capable of feeling pain. Studies show that unborn children feel pain by at least 20 weeks gestation. These 20-week bans serve to protect the innocent child, capable of feeling pain and to protect the mother, who often suffers physical and mental harm from abortion. Additionally, Americans overwhelmingly oppose late-term abortion. A recent Gallup poll shows that 64% of Americans oppose second trimester abortion and 80% oppose third trimester abortion.

In response to the obvious need to protect children and women from late-term abortion, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) has introduced a bill on the federal level that would effectively ban abortion past 20 weeks gestation. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 1797, was presented last week along with several poignant testimonies in support of the legislation.

One testimony from a former abortionist who supports the bill described the grisly procedure of late-term abortion. Another testimony from a neurobiologist emphasized scientific facts that support the conclusion that unborn children experience pain and noted that in light of the evidence, the government has a compelling interest in and an ethical responsibility to protect the unborn child who is capable of experiencing pain. The importance of this bill cannot be overstated, and Rep. Franks should be commended for taking a very bold, public step to protect the unborn.

In his press release before introducing the bill, Rep. Franks highlighted the inhumanity of late-term abortion and the importance of banning it. He said, “Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are.”

As Americans, dedicated to the cause of life and liberty for all, we can and must do better. Also, as believers dedicated to the cause of Christ, we know that protecting the most innocent among us - those made in the image of God - is of the utmost importance. Passing legislation banning late-term abortion is a start along the road to protecting life at all stages. We urge you to contact your representatives and voice your support for H.R. 1797.