By Paul Bremmer
WASHINGTON – Republican leaders are scheduling a House vote next week on legislation to ban late-term abortions.
The vote on the bill, which has been shelved since January, is set to take place on May 13, the two-year anniversary of the conviction of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia doctor convicted of killing babies born alive during abortion procedures.
“We are thankful to our pro-life allies on the Hill, including House GOP leadership and the Congressional Pro-Life Women’s Caucus, who have tirelessly worked to bring this bill to a vote,” Susan B. Anthony president Marjorie Dannenfelser wrote in a statement.
The announcement of the vote comes just hours after pro-lifers gathered outside House Speaker John Boehner’s office door on Thursday to draw attention – again – to the fact that the long-delayed vote on a 20-week abortion ban had yet to be scheduled.
“If we don’t see progress by June, we’re going to call for a massive event,” Rev. Patrick Mahoney, of the Christian Defense Coalition, said.
He told reporters at a news conference the group was “here today following the principles of Dr. King. We are going in to show Speaker Boehner why this issue is not a political issue.”
However, when the protesters went inside the congressional office building, they were met with a closed door to Boehner’s office, which was not opened to them despite repeated knocks.
From Thursday’s event:
Several of the protesters, who hailed from Virginia, California, Illinois, New Mexico, Maryland, Kansas, Michigan, Alabama, Massachusetts and more, carried plastic replicas of unborn children wrapped in pink blankets, and left them at the office door. Several posters and placards also were left.
One woman was wearing a T-shirt saying, “Black women are good mothers.”
Others held up images of the results of abortion – the dismembered bodies of abortion victims.
“Our message is simple,” Mahoney, one of the event’s organizers, said. “Protect America’s children. Stand with America’s children.”
The battle erupted back in January, on the eve of the 2015 March for Life, when the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives canceled a planned vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks.
More from Thursday’s event:
Thursday’s event came six weeks after a previous action at Boehner’s office on March 25, when Mahoney and a handful of other pro-life advocates knelt and prayed in front of the speaker’s office door, and were arrested by Capitol police.
Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue, said the idea is to impress on those in Congress that the vote is important.
Said the co-author of “Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time,” “We want to remind Congress that people are watching and that we will not forget about this and move on until the promised vote is taken.”
Mahoney insists the protesters are not upset with Boehner on their own behalf, but on behalf of the many babies whose lives would be saved if a 20-week abortion ban were passed.
“Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied,’ and justice is being denied to these children,” Mahoney said.
Mahoney said the protesters are following Jesus’ example as outlined in the parable of the widow and the unjust judge in the Bible. The poor widow kept coming to the judge to beg him to grant her justice, and he eventually relented because of the woman’s persistence.
“That is what we plan to do with Speaker Boehner and House leadership,” Mahoney explained. “We will not stop ‘knocking’ until this legislation is voted on. If there is no vote by June, we plan to have a much larger presence come to Washington, D.C.”
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said in a statement, “We need to show John Boehner that every day he delays this vote, thousands of children are killed in brutal dismemberment and partial birth abortions. With every day he delays this vote, the heartless butchers at Planned Parenthood are preying on thousands of victimized women and raking in obscene sums of blood money.”
As WND reported, eight prominent pro-life activists were arrested on March 25 for kneeling and praying outside Boehner’s Capitol Hill office, urging him to show leadership and get the bill passed.
See the WND video of the protesters’ arrest outside Boehner’s office in March:
See the WND video of pro-life leaders addressing the media then:
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act hit an unexpected roadblock when a number of female lawmakers, including Reps. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C.; Ann Wagner, R-Mo.; and Jackie Wolorski, R-Ind., who all have pro-life voting records, and even one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., expressed reservations about the legislation because it did not do enough to allow rape victims to have abortions, a move that Life News said “sabotaged” the bill.
When GOP House leaders feared they didn’t have enough votes to pass the bill, they shelved it Jan. 21, and are now tweaking the legislation so it doesn’t run into the same problem. Bohener told Life News he’s committed to bringing the bill back to the floor for a vote and passing it.