HANFORD — Sometimes, the social issues get lost in the shuffle as legislators argue over
who can best stimulate the economy.
Not last week.
The House of Representatives voted 228-196 to ban abortion, with a few narrow exceptions,
beyond the 20th week of pregnancy.
The officially titled Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was based on the claim that
the developing fetus starts feeling pain after about five months.
“As a father of three, devout Catholic and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I
strongly believe in the sanctity of human life,” Valadao said in a written statement. “I also
believe that government and our communities should join together to provide ample
support for those expecting mothers who are facing difficult decisions and considering
options such as abortion.”
The House vote was largely symbolic, since President Obama promised to veto it and it had
no chance of clearing the Democrat-controlled Senate.
But it re-ignited a fierce debate over an issue that is as divisive as ever 40 years after the
landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade declared abortion to be a constitutional right.
April Kesterson, executive director of anti-abortion organization Tulare-Kings Right to life,
said she supported the House bill on humanitarian grounds.
“The fact of the matter is that babies can feel pain earlier than the 20-week limit that this
bill is setting,” she said.
EMILY’s List, a prominent pro-choice organization, denounced the bill.
“David Valadao and his fellow House Republicans are pushing an extreme and
unconstitutional abortion ban that would threaten the health and safety of women across
the country,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List.
Also critical of the bill was Cathy Jorgensen, chairwoman of the Kings County Democratic
“I don’t understand the white male Republican interest in women’s reproductive health,”
Jorgensen said. “For a party that wants to be seen as not wanting to interfere in the lives of
citizens, I’m distressed by the fact that [Republicans] think they need to interfere in the lives
of women and make decisions for them.”
Hanford Sentinel Jorgensen thinks that Valadao and other Republicans are alienating women voters by
supporting the bill.
“Abortion was settled in Rove v. Wade,” Jorgensen said.
“It’s not going to be settled as long as abortion is legal and there are people that believe that
killing unborn children is wrong,” Kesterson said. “The vast majority of women who have
had abortions, they’ve suffered negative consequences from it … It’s not been a beneficial
thing for women.”