UPDATE: Members of Congress have abruptly delayed further work on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act, which would have banned abortion after 20 weeks, based on the semantics of the bill and members' concerns over them.
Some members worried that an exception for cases of rape was too narrowly worded because it required a rape to have been reported.
Advertisement - story continues below
Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., said, "We have to be compassionate to women when they're in a crisis situation."
Also raising concerns were exemptions for minors who were victims of incest.
Members decided instead to move forward immediately on a plan to make the Hyde Amendment, banning expenditure of federal funds for abortion, permanent.
Advertisement - story continues below
"Americans have been forced to violate their conscience and religious convictions long enough by being made to fund President Obama’s massive abortion scheme. It is appropriate that this new Republican-controlled Congress make the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act one of their first majority initiatives."
He continued, "While we are disappointed that a handful of members caused a delay in the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act, we applaud the leadership for remaining committed to advancing pro-life legislation. The excruciating pain that unborn babies feel at five months is a matter of biology, not a matter of belief. It is time that Congress put an end to this barbaric horror."
There now are 739 remaining abortion clinics in the U.S., down 23 percent in just the past five years and only a fraction of the 2,176 available in 1991.
Operation Rescue calls it an "implosion."
Advertisement - story continues below
Spokeswoman Cheryl Sullenger, who joined with OR President Troy Newman to release "Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time," said that as abortionists age and quit, they are not always being replaced, despite the work of a Warren Buffet foundation to train them.
As March for Life events are held across the country Thursday, the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision nullified state laws banning abortion, there are multiple efforts to change the law to define the unborn as a "person."
The proposals take advantage of the gap cited by Roe v. Wade author Harry Blackmun, who said, "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the amendment."
Further, state legislatures increasingly are putting the abortionists under a regulatory and legal microscope. And in Congress Thursday, a vote is expected on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.
Advertisement - story continues below
The developments don't even touch the scandals that have been uncovered by groups such as Live Action, which has taken hidden cameras into Planned Parenthood clinics to catch employees explaining to "underage" patients how to conceal illegal activity.
So what is next for the industry, led by Planned Parenthood and its hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money each year?
Sullenger, who has been fighting abortion for decades, shutting down numerous clinics, believes pro-life activists have "turned the corner."
"I think we're going to see a continuation of the trend of closing abortion clinics over the next several years," she told WND Wednesday.
In statehouses, she said, more and more pro-life people are voting, and the result is more legislation "aimed at protecting women and babies."
"When abortion is debated and people can hear the truth about what really goes on in abortion clinics – what it really does to babies, women – people reject abortion," she said.
"All in all, we're looking at the beginning of the end of abortion in this country."
The clinic horror stories grabbed attention with the revelations from the criminal case against abortionist Kermit Gosnell. He was convicted of delivering babies, then using a scissors to snip their spinal cords.
President Obama's adamant support for all abortion under all circumstances remains an obstacle, but he will be out of office in two years, and Sullenger points out most of the gains are in state legislatures.
"The majority of Americans are extremely uncomfortable with abortion, do not support it," she said. "They support common sense legislation."
One example is the 20-week abortion limit pending in Congress, introduced by Franks and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
'They cry and scream as they die'
Franks said more than 18,000 "very late term" abortions are performed every year on "perfectly healthy unborn babies in America."
"These are innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain, but who can survive outside of the womb in most cases, and who are torturously killed without even basic anesthesia," the congressman said. "Many of them cry and scream as they die, but because it is amniotic fluid going over their vocal cords instead of air, we don't hear them."
Franks said late-term abortion in America "has its defenders, but no true or principled defense."
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, he said, offers basic protection to mothers and their unborn children entering the sixth month of gestation.
Added Blackburn, "We have a moral obligation to end dangerous late-term abortions in order to protect women and these precious babies from criminals like Kermit Gosnell and others who prey on the most vulnerable in our society."
She noted the United States is one of the few remaining countries in the world that allows abortion after 20 weeks.
"That is why today we renew our efforts to protect the lives of babies and their mothers with the introduction of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," she said. "Rep. Franks and I have been a good team moving this legislation through the House as we continue to lead the fight to ensure the unborn are provided the same protection that all human life deserves."
On Facebook, Franks expanded on his concerns.
"The most common attack lobbed against my bill is that it ostensibly targets women who are in dire medical straits. This argument claims that only women who face certain death, or whose babies have life-threatening conditions seek abortions after the beginning of the sixth month," he wrote. "It isn't a new claim. The assertion may have reached its height in the mid-1990s, when Ron Fitzsimmons – who served for three years as the director of Government Relations for the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and for 14 years as executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers – told 'Nightline' that late-term abortions, and specifically partial birth abortions, were performed rarely and 'only on women whose lives were in danger or whose fetuses were damaged,' as the New York Times reported it. President Clinton would go on to parrot the same claim in attempting to explain his veto of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban."
Franks explained, however, that several months after his interview, Fitzsimmons publicly admitted that he had "lied through his teeth" to "Nightline," to the point that it made him "physically ill."
"He explained that after the interview, 'I told my wife the next day, 'I can't do this again.'' To quote the American Medical Association's American Medical News, where Fitzsimmons' confession was printed, 'In the vast majority of cases, the procedure is performed on a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is 20 weeks or more along, Mr. Fitzsimmons said. 'The abortion-rights folks know it, the anti-abortion folks know it, and so, probably, does everyone else.'"
Abortions because of money, relationship stresses
Many abortion defenders argue late-term abortions are done only in dire circumstances in which the mother's life is threatened or there is a severe fetal anomaly.
A new Lozier Institute report, however, suggests otherwise.
"The characteristic similarities and delay commonalities observed across first trimester and late-term abortion groups suggest that women who seek abortion share similar characteristics across gestational ages," the organization wrote in its conclusions.
"The stressful circumstances of unprepared pregnancy, single-motherhood, financial pressure and relationship discord are primary concerns that must be addressed for these women. However, these circumstances are not fundamentally alleviated or ameliorated by late-term abortion. Indeed, late-term abortion places these women at greater risk of surgical complications, subsequent preterm birth, and mental health problems, while simultaneously ending the life of an unborn child. As a medical profession and society, we rightly seek alternative, compassionate responses for the women seeking late-term abortion procedures for such challenging yet elective reasons," the report said.
"Most late-term abortions are performed because of a delay in pregnancy diagnosis and for reasons similar to those given by first-trimester abortion patients: financial stressors, relationship problems, education concerns or parenting challenges," said the institute.
"A recent paper entitled, 'Who seeks abortion at or after 20 weeks?' supports these conclusions. The study, published in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, a journal of the Guttmacher Institute, marks a notable departure from previous statements by abortion rights advocates that late-term abortions were rarely elective."
The book by Sullenger and Newman talks about making communities "Abortion Free."
"We have found that abortion clinics can close and lives can be saved by working strategically at the state and local level despite what the political climate might be," Newman said. "We know our ideas work because of the successes we have witnessed while employing the same tactics we share in 'Abortion Free.'"
For example, they share how they closed abortion clinics, starting with 18 in San Diego County in the 1990s, and how they brought an end to George Tiller's notorious, late-term, abortion work in Wichita, Kansas.
They also found they could get abortionists' licenses revoked simply by filling out a form and discovered that records of abortion deaths helped shutter abortion businesses.
"Abortion Free" details how to employ specific tactics, such as:
- Discovering and documenting abortion abuses.
- Using public records requests to obtain information the abortion cartel is hiding.
- Filing official complaints that can put abortionists out of business.
- Getting your message past the "gatekeepers" in the mainstream media.
- Using your research as the basis for new laws that will shutter abortion clinics permanently.
The National Right to Life Committee's new "State of Abortion in the U.S" report this week said there has been a decrease in the annual number of abortions.
But the tragedy is that "nearly 3,000 unborn children are still killed every day in the United States."
President Carol Tobias said, "The pro-life movement stands ready to make tremendous gains in 2015 on behalf of mothers and their unborn children.
"Proposals like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, have the dual effect of protecting unborn children from painful abortions and educating the public about the humanity of the unborn child," she added.
The organization cited the dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, from Justice Anthony Kennedy.
He said: "The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off."
Where is the White House right now?
LifeNews said Tuesday Obama threatened to veto any legislation that would curb access to abortion, even though 84 percent of Americans favor restrictions on abortion, according to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll.
Sullenger says that while things are looking up for abortion opponents, she does have a warning.
"I think a Hillary Clinton presidency would be worse than a Barack Obama presidency," she said. "She is a true believer in abortion. Even her family foundation, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, is promoting abortion overseas.
"She has a radical agenda."
She said Obama's attention was split during his presidency between duties in office and golf.
Clinton, however, has "no such hobbies."
"She could devote her full attention to that. Her highest priority is going to be making sure that abortion does not disappear from America," Sullenger said. "That would be my warning."