Pro-life activist Jill Stanek is joining with the Christian Defense Coalition later this month to stage a sit-in on Capitol Hill over lack of action on a late-term abortion ban that was supposed to be passed in January.
The sit-in is scheduled for 11.a.m. EST on March 25 outside the office of House Speaker John Boehner.
At issue is the GOP leadership’s handling of the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy but includes exceptions for victims of rape and incest.
Stanek, a former nurse, rose to national prominence after confronting then-Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama over his opposition to legislation that would require medical personnel to take every measure possible to save the life of a baby born alive after an attempted abortion.
She said personal experience drove her to speak up then, and it drives her now.
“I, as a nurse at a hospital in Chicago, held an abortion survivor for 45 minutes until he died, and he was 21 weeks old,” she said. “An abortion ban such as this would save babies like I held. This is very real to me. I have actually seen and held the babies that the House is just playing around with willy-nilly right now.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Jill Stanek:
The bill was supposed to be voted on Jan. 22 in conjunction with the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion and while Washington was filled with pro-life activists for the annual March for Life. Stanek said the concept is very simple.
“It is a ban on abortion past 20 weeks,” she explained. “It is known that by 20 weeks, and probably before, children feel pain. When they are aborted at 20 weeks, they are literally drawn and quartered. They’re just ripped apart, limb by limb. So this ban would make it a federal offense [and] ban abortions past 20 weeks.”
But the bill, which sailed through the House with a smaller Republican majority in the previous Congress, never received a vote.
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“Inexplicably, inexcusably, the House leadership scuttled the bill at the last minute, reneged on their promise to pro-lifers,” she said. “When we protest on March 25, it will have been two months. We’ve been patient, more than measured in our response, more than muted. I, among others, am just not going to stand for this anymore.”
The sticking point in the legislation centered on the exception for rape and incest victims, who would be required to provide a police report of the crime before receiving an abortion. Stanek thinks the exception is a bad idea altogether.
“There should have never been a rape-incest exception to begin with,” she said. “We’re talking about five months along in pregnancy. Certainly by that time, mothers should know that they’re pregnant. And certainly, babies, even if they’re conceived in rape or incest, are innocent victims too and shouldn’t be put to death.”
Stanek said the provision exists because Republicans have suffered public relations headaches from multiple candidates fumbling the issue of rape and abortion and want to avoid the problem going forward.
Speaker Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tapped Republican women to be the face of this legislation, but it was ultimately two GOP women who forced the bill back on the shelf. Reps. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., made it clear at the GOP retreat before the vote that they had problems forcing victims of crime to bring a police report with them to get an abortion.
Stanek said if you’re going to have the exception, not requiring women to present a police report would make the law virtually meaningless.
“Late-term abortions aren’t good for women to begin with, but taking out this reporting requirement would just give a huge loophole to abortionists to check that box every time a woman came in for a late-term abortion and say she’s been raped,” said Stanek, who argued the reporting requirement also makes women safer.
“Making women report their crime to police protects other women from being victimized by these sexual perpetrators and protects the very women themselves against these perpetrators from violating them again,” she said. “Some of these women are victims of incest, and girls are victims of incest. If they don’t have to report the crime, then the evidence is covered up, literally killed when the abortion is committed.”
“The bill never should have been sidelined,” she said. “They didn’t even take a headcount to see if they had the votes. They had the votes. At the last moment, the chief opponent, Renee Ellmers, said she would vote for the bill, but they just chickened out, and they took advantage of the pro-life movement.”
Stanek added, “They don’t take us seriously. They don’t respect us or fear us.”
Pro-life dissatisfaction swelled after the bill was pulled. In response, the House passed legislation to ban taxpayer funding of abortions that same day. Many members also promised that the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would be revived shortly.
Stanek said there has been neither noticeable progress toward fulfilling that promise nor any explanations for why it hasn’t happened.
“There have been no excuses made,” she said. “They did promise to bring the bill up right away, and they haven’t. That is precisely the reason that after two months of waiting, we are going to Washington, D.C., and we are going to force them to address this.”
The protest does carry some legal risks for participants, but Stanek believes the cause is worth it.
“It’s going to be a sit-in,” she said. “We’re going to risk arrest, but this form of civil disobedience is nothing compared to what is happening to these children every day.”
Organizers are inviting pro-life activists from around the nation to join with them. Speaker Boehner’s office is located at 1011 in the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
The name of the event is #FreeTheBan. Individuals may find more information at the event’s Facebook page.