1. 20-week Abortion ban clears House, faces uphill Senate fight: Trump vows to sign legislation if it passes upper chamber.

By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, October 4, 2017, Pg. A4

For the third time in five years, the Republican-led House has passed legislation that would prohibit most late-term abortions when the fetus can feel pain.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act cleared its first hurdle on Tuesday in a near party-line vote of 237-189 in the lower chamber.

It faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Republicans don’t have the votes to override a filibuster from Democrats, who blocked similar versions of the legislation in 2013 and 2015.

Introduced by Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, the Pain-Capable Act would criminalize the performance of abortion after 20 weeks of gestation except in the cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother.

The White House issued a statement Monday reaffirming President Trump’s intention to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

“The Administration strongly supports H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and applauds the House of Representatives for continuing its efforts to secure critical pro-life protections,” the statement said.

Twenty states currently have 20-week abortion bans on the books. But opponents of such legislation argue it’s unconstitutional.

About 2 percent of all abortions in America occur after 20 weeks gestation. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the Pain-Capable Act would prevent about 10,000 late-term abortions from taking place every year.

Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said Democrats will probably block the bill once it reaches the Senate.

But he said Tuesday’s vote is important because it forced lawmakers to come out for or against late-term abortion and raised awareness about the prevalence of the procedure in America.


2. Vatican to host youth summit to hear doubts, criticism.

By Associated Press, October 4, 2017, 5:13 AM

Pope Francis wants to hear firsthand from young people about their “doubts and criticisms” in the run-up to a big meeting of bishops on how the Catholic Church can better minister to young people today.

The Vatican said Wednesday it would host a summit of young people from around the world March 19-24 as a preparatory meeting to the synod of bishops later in the year. As well as young Catholics, other Christians and young atheists have been invited to the event.


3. US House passes bill to ban most abortions after 20 weeks.

By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, October 3, 2017, 4:35 PM

The U.S. House passed on Tuesday a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation in a largely party-line vote. The measure is a major pro-life legislative priority, but it is expected to fail in the Senate.

“The New England Journal of Medicine has documented that premature babies are surviving earlier and earlier, yet our nations laws fail to protect these children,” stated Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor with The Catholic Association.

The House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act late in the afternoon of Oct. 3 by a vote of 237 to 189, largely along party lines. The chamber also passed a version of the bill in 2015; but Tuesday’s bill, as in 2015, is expected to fail in the Senate.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chair of the Pro-Life Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked House members to support the bill in a Sept. 29 letter.

“We hold that every child, from conception onward, deserves love and the protection of the law. We believe that no person or government has the right to take the life of an innocent human being – and we hold that the real problems that lead women to consider abortion should be addressed with solutions that support both mother and child,” Cardinal Dolan wrote.

The White House has promised to sign the bill if it passes both chambers, in line with a promise that President Donald Trump made on the campaign trail to sign certain pro-life bills if they were sent to his desk.


4. Common-Sense Protections: Pro-lifers and pro-choicers can both agree upon the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

By Grazie Pozo Christie, Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves as a senior policy advisor for The Catholic Association, US News & World Report, October 3, 2017, 12:30 PM

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is before the United States House of Representatives this week, would finally align federal law with the sentiments of the American public. The law represents a change in focus regarding the life of a fetus and would make legal protection less about constantly changing viability rates and more about the humane desire to avoid inflicting pain on a defenseless creature.

A 2016 survey shows that a majority of Americans believe abortion should be restricted to the first three months of pregnancy. In fact, only a quarter of pro-choice Americans support abortion during the third trimester.

This makes a lot of sense. Any lingering ideas about “clumps of cells” and “potential life” have long since been banished from our collective conscience by the widespread practice of fetal ultrasound, which shows fully formed and lively little people in vivid 3D.

Viability not only varies dramatically by country, it is also a statistical prediction and a moving target. When Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the U.S. in 1973, viability was about 28 weeks, well into the third trimester. Today that has dropped to 23-24 weeks and is expected to keep falling as advances in artificial respiration and supportive care of the central nervous system boost survival rates. It is hoped, and even expected, that babies born during the second trimester will one day be given a chance at life with resuscitation and intensive care, now reserved for older babies.

Instead of using unpredictable and changing viability rates, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would make abortion illegal, except in the cases of rape or life of the mother, at the gestational age of 20 weeks. Medical experience has shown that fetuses at that age recoil from stimuli that would be recognized as painful by an adult human, and that the fetuses show significant increases in stress hormones, also a pain response. Doctors who operate on unborn children in the second trimester are obliged to anesthetize the baby in order to prevent him or her from thrashing about. People who, for the sake of ideology, claim that fetuses in the late second trimester cannot feel pain are closing their eyes to the obvious.

If the Pain-Capable Law passes, the United States will no longer be one of just a handful of countries that allows abortion after 20 weeks, and will instead join the international mainstream. It makes sense to align federal law with public opinion, which is strongly against third trimester abortion, and to unite pro-life and pro-choice Americans in the process.


5. Vatican conference tackles new technology and medicine.

By Elise Harris, Crux, October 3, 2017

Technology is at the heart of a Vatican conference on accompanying human life in the digital era, particularly with regard to the medical field.

The conference is emphasizing both the benefits and limits of new technology, and what those mean for the Church.

New technology has “an increasingly relevant impact on the various aspects, the various moments of human life,” Monsignor Renzo Pegoraro, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said Oct. 2.

The Pontifical Academy for Life wishes to look at the positive aspects of technology and everything it has achieved “in the field of health, of human life, and the betterment of certain conditions and situations.”

However, while great helpful strides have certainly been made, Pegoraro said it’s also important to discuss “the dangers, the risks that are linked with a technology that is increasingly invasive and powerful, which can condition many aspects of human life.”

The conference marks the academy’s first general assembly since the renewal of their statutes last year, and will draw new academic members from 37 countries around the world.