WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) today joined Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) as well as other Senate colleagues and pro-life leaders to formally introduce the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

The legislation would provide common-sense protections for unborn children at 20 weeks after fertilization, a point at which there is significant scientific evidence that abortion inflicts tremendous pain on these vulnerable human beings. On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable legislation by a vote of 237-189.

“At five month gestational age, babies have 10 fingers and 10 toes, they can yawn, stretch, make faces – and they can feel pain,” said Senator Ernst. “It’s unconscionable that the United States is currently one of only 7 countries in the world that allows abortions after five months; we are currently in the same company of China and North Korea. I’m fighting for this legislation in honor of my friend and fellow Iowan, Micah Pickering, an incredible 5 year old who was born prematurely, at five months gestation. This legislation could protect up to 10,000 lives like Micah’s every year by preventing abortions after about 5 months of development, and it is absolutely critical that the Senate take up this legislation to protect our most vulnerable.”

“There are only seven countries that allow wholesale abortions at the 20-week period, including China and North Korea. The United States should not be in that club,” said Senator Graham. “I don’t believe abortion, five months into pregnancy, makes us a better nation.  America is at her best when she’s standing up for the least among us and the sooner we pass this legislation into law, the better. We are on the right side of history.”

“The United States is one of only seven countries, including North Korea, that allow abortion at five months of pregnancy,” said Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma). “I applaud the House for passing this bill; it is now time for the Senate to act on this. So many children are alive, healthy, and growing today who were born prematurely at five months pregnancy. We should not allow elective abortions past five months of pregnancy, especially when science shows that unborn babies feel pain at this stage.”

“Washington has a debate between empty euphemisms like ‘choice’ and basic science – none of the usual euphemisms change the fact that a 20-week old baby can see, swallow, and flex her arms and legs,” said Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska). “Americans rightly condemn human rights abuses around the world because we judge societies on how they take care of their most vulnerable members – there’s no good reason for the United States to be on a list of human rights abusers like China and North Korea in allowing these kinds of abortions.”

The Senators were joined at the press conference by representatives of organizations which strongly support the legislation and have worked to help push for its passage.  They include National Right to Life Committee, Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, Americans United for Life and Concerned Women for America.

The legislation has been cosponsored by forty-five senators, including Senators John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Thad Cochran, Bob Corker, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton, Mike Crapo, Ted Cruz, Steve Daines, Joni Ernst, Mike Enzi, Jeff Flake, Deb Fischer, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, John Hoeven, James Inhofe, Johnny Isakson, Ron Johnson, John Kennedy, James Lankford, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, David Perdue, Rob Portman, James Risch, Pat Roberts, Mike Rounds, Marco Rubio, Ben Sasse, Tim Scott, Richard Shelby, Luther Strange, Dan Sullivan, John Thune, Thom Tillis, Pat Toomey, Roger Wicker, and Todd Young.