RECENT VOTES

Restricting Womenís Rights on Choice

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This legislation is not about protecting unborn children. Itís really about restricting a womanís access to abortion. Regardless of how one may personally feel about this matter, the right to choose has been affirmed by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. H.R. 36 prohibits abortion after 20 weeks. While there is an exception if the motherís life is in danger, it does not include an exemption if a doctor determines that continuing the pregnancy will damage the health of the mother. H.R. 36 inserts itself into a womanís relationship with her doctor. The legislation imposes fines and prison time of up to 5 years for health professionals who are not in compliance. It is a sad fact that in some cases, fetal abnormalities are not detected until after 20 weeks and these are sometimes so severe that survival is unlikely. H.R. 36 forces women to carry to term a fetus who could be missing a brain or have severe heart defects. H.R 36 also imposes limits on women who seek abortion as a result of rape or incest. They must report these cases to law enforcement or document that they sought medical help or counseling before an abortion is performed. Minors who were raped or who are victims of incest must also report to appropriate authorities and provide documentation that they have done so. In cases where the rapist is a member of the childís household, this may be simply impossible. In any case, the requirement only adds to their trauma. I voted NO. H.R. 36 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

234

2

0

3

DEMOCRAT

3

187

0

4

TOTAL

237

189

0

7

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0