WASHINGTON, District of Columbia-  Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), joined congressional colleagues at a press conference Tuesday to speak in support of H.R. 36, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The following are her remarks:

“I stand here today in solidarity with my colleagues to show my strong support for H.R. 36, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. I would like to thank Leader McCarthy for making it a priority of this Congress to protect the lives of unborn children from the excruciating pain of abortion. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to Micah and the Pickering family for being here today. They are incredibly strong and brave in joining in this fight, and they stand as an example of everything we are working for. There are three key reasons we must pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act: first, the pain these unborn children suffer during abortion; second, the potential lost when these children do not become who they were meant to be; and third, the polling which shows the American people stand with us on this issue.

Twenty weeks is a milestone for babies. Babies at this age, in utero, are hyper-responsive to pain. This means that they feel pain more acutely than a one-year old child, or you or I do as adults. This is not lost on surgeons who operate on young patients in the womb. In fact, best medical practice routinely administers pain medication for unborn children undergoing surgical procedures. Our bill stops these unborn children from having to endure this inhumane, painful procedure.

We also know that pre-term babies born at 20 weeks have a chance of survival outside the womb. These children are the future doctors and nurses, the future scientists who will develop cures and the teachers who will train generations to come after them. These unborn children will grow up to serve honorably in our military and grow up to be mothers and fathers with children of their own. It is a tragedy to allow their lives to be snuffed out. Our bill will allow these children to live out their full potential.

In polls from Gallup to ABC News to the Washington Post, the American people all voice the same, resounding message: Life is valuable and must be protected. In fact, six in ten Americans support banning abortions after 20 weeks. Today, we are fulfilling the will of the American people and acting to save these lives.

A vote for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a vote to save the next generation and restore America’s conscience. America is pro-life, and I’m proud to support legislation that strengthens our American values.”

Vicky Hartzler. Photo by Bill Benson

NOTE: In 2003, from data collected in those areas that sufficiently reported gestational age, it was found that 6.2% of abortions were conducted between 13 and 15 weeks, 4.2% between 16 and 20 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks. Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual study on abortion statistics does not calculate the exact gestational age for abortions performed past the 20th week, there are no precise data for the number of abortions performed after viability. In 1997, the Guttmacher Institute estimated the number of abortions in the U.S. past 24 weeks to be 0.08%, or approximately 1,032 per year.