Instead of focusing on passing legislation that would protect Dreamers or keep the government open past February 8, Senate Republicans are voting on — you guessed it — an abortion ban.
On Monday, January 29, the United States Senate is expected to begin a procedural vote on S.2311, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the bill is intended as a counterpart to H.R. 36, the House version of the same bill that was introduced by Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ)and passed in October 2017 with a 237–189 vote.
The bill is intended to amend title 18 of the U.S. code to, according to the bill’s summary, make it a “crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.“ Any person who violates this amended code would be subject to criminal penalties, including financial penalties or a prison sentence of up to five years. In some circumstances, the violator could be subject to both.
With a slim Republican majority, the bill isn’t expected to pass — but that’s not the point.
Activists think the 20-week abortion ban is a potent election issue for 2018, particularly against Democrats hailing from red-leaning states who are expected to vote against the bill.
The activists hope their efforts will lead to the defeat of vulnerable Democrats such as Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), who both voted against the 20-week bill in 2015. McCaskill’s office said she plans to do so again, while Heitkamp’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Call today to support your Democratic senators (esp. Heidi) in voting “NO” on this bill. Hoeven is a co-sponsor on the bill, call him to express your concern that he is willing to make health caregivers targets for the anti-abortion movement.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
Sen. John Hoeven
Sen. Tina Smith
Sen. Amy Klobuchar