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Senator Lankford Votes For Pain-Capable Bill, Files Motion For Senate Vote on Defund Planned Parenthood Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today voted in favor of The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HR 36) after advocating for a Senate vote on the bill for two months. The Pain-Capable legislation would prohibit abortions past five months of pregnancy in light of the fact that indisputable science has proven that unborn babies feel pain at this stage. The United States is one of only seven countries that allow abortion at five months of pregnancy, including nations such as North Korea and China.

Late Monday evening, Lankford also filed a motion to begin the parliamentary process, known as Rule 14, to force a vote in the Senate on the recently House-passed Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 (HR 3134), a bill that would redirect taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood to community health centers for one year while the organization is under investigation. Lankford introduced a Senate companion bill (S.1836) to the Defund Planned Parenthood Act on July 22. Lankford also joined Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) on July 29 to introduce a bill to permanently redirect Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding to community health centers. The bill failed in the Senate on August 3 due to a Democrat filibuster.

On Monday night, Senator Lankford spoke on the Senate floor in favor of the Pain-Capable legislation. “We know at 20 weeks, that child can respond to different stimuli. That child feels pain,” said Lankford.

The first essential requirement for pain is the presence of sensory receptors, which science confirms is first developed around the mouth at five weeks of pregnancy. Fetal pain can be measured by the way they recoil from painful stimuli and the increase in stress hormones when they are hurt. In addition, anesthesia is used in fetal surgeries and special care is given to reduce the pain of premature infants in the NICU (neonatal intensive-care unit).

Lankford continued, “There are a lot of important things we’re dealing with, with budget, with Iran nuclear negotiations, but can we not stop for a moment and say our nation will guard our most vulnerable? Can we not protect our children? I think we can do both.”

Senator Lankford told the story of a little girl named Violet. She was born at 14 ounces, and is now a year old. “At 14 ounces and at five months of gestation, that little girl is doing great. Yet in many places in our country, not all, but in many places in our country, that child can still be executed in the womb and no one would bat an eye…When a child can feel pain, when a child is viable, even the Supreme Court from 1973 would look at this time period and say that’s viability. At that moment, should we as a nation step up and protect children?”

During a press conference with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and pro-life groups today, Lankford said, “…for some reason, our nation has said that when you can see that child, we will do everything we can do to protect them, but when you can’t see them, we are okay with them being destroyed.  Well, that’s not who we are as a nation.  It’s not a matter of whether you can see them or not. It’s not a matter of how tall they are, to say they’ve got to be a certain height before we’ll consider them alive. That’s a living child. This bill does something that we would consider very non-controversial. When a child can experience pain, shouldn’t we protect the life of that child?”

In an emotional speech on July 16, Lankford was the first Senator to speak on the Senate floor against the Planned Parenthood videos showing the harvesting of fetal body parts. In that speech, two days after the release of the first video, Lankford advocated for a Senate vote to defund Planned Parenthood and end late-term abortion.