The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, an abortion ban that would only permit abortions after 20 weeks in the case of rape, incest, or a risk to the mother’s life, reportedly has a new opponent: Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of North Carolina. She’s not the only Republican Congressperson speaking out against the abortion ban, either, according to others who were present at the closed-door session where Ellmers is said to have spoken out against it.
According to the National Journal, the abortion ban was to be brought to a vote in the upcoming week, actually on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Renee Ellmers, however, reportedly spoke up, saying that to vote on an abortion ban now would alienate women and young voters. She isn’t the only member of the GOP who has voiced concerns with the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, either — several other members present reportedly shared her concerns. According to Politico, at least half a dozen Congresspeople present expressed concerns about the abortion ban, largely centering on the details of the rape exception.
Specifically, the rape exception would apply only in the case of those rape victims who had reported the attack to police. Since about two-thirds of rapes are believed to go unreported, the exception would be inaccessible to a number of women.
Supporters of the bill, however, maintain that it is the right thing and the vote should go forward, and should, as planned, take place on the Roe v. Wade anniversary, when pro-lifers will march in Washington for the March For Life event. Arizona Representative Trent Franks (R), for instance, has described the abortion ban as a measure to protect women and children.
Ellmers is being criticized by conservative outlets, such as political blogger Erik Erickson on Red State, for speaking against the abortion ban. Erickson essentially accuses Ellmers of placing her popularity above her political and moral views.
“Just as the GOP has decided to stand firm on a piece of legislation supported by +60 [percent] of the nation, she’s scared people won’t like her.”
Whether Erickson’s 60 percent figure is accurate is questionable — according to Gallup, about 28 percent of people polled think abortion should be legal under all circumstances, and about half support legal abortion ‘under certain circumstances.’ Another 21 percent say they think abortion should be illegal regardless of circumstances.
What Erickson is undoubtedly right about, though, is that speaking out against this ban doesn’t fit with Ellmers’ own stated stances. On her own site, she addresses ‘life’ issues.
“Congresswoman Ellmers believes that life begins at conception and that every life deserves a chance. She believes that abortion is the unjustified taking of a human life. She feels the entire abortion debate hinges on the single question of when life begins. Unfortunately, some people in our country today doubt the full humanity of an unborn child.”
The statement goes on to reference Congresswoman Ellmers’ religious beliefs, and to state that she will vote to block partial birth abortion, Federal funding for abortion and family planning, and several other items relating to abortion and family planning.
Whatever the reasons for opposition, though, it looks like the abortion ban now has opponents on both ends of the political spectrum. If the vote goes forward on January 22, as planned, however, these additional opponents may not be strongly enough opposed to actually vote against it.