by Izzy Mendiola
On March 25, 2015 at 11 a.m. Pro-Life activist Jill Stanek and the Christian Defense Coalition plan to stage a sit-in on Capitol Hill in protest of the lack of action regarding a ban on late-term abortions.
This late-term abortion ban was supposed to be passed on January 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion. Although Republicans now hold a greater majority in the House than they did in the previous Congress—during which this legislation was introduced—it never received a vote.
Stanek has no patience for this procrastination. “The bill never should have been sidelined. They didn’t even take a headcount to see if they had votes,” she said. “They had votes. At the last moment, the chief opponent, Renee Ellmers, said she would vote for the bill, but they just chickened out, and they took advantage of the pro-life movement.”
This bill would ban abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later. Stanek explains, “It is known that by 20 weeks, and probably before, children feel pain. When they are aborted by 20 weeks, they are literally drawn and quartered. They’re just ripped apart, limb by limb. So this ban would make it a federal offense [and] ban abortions past 20 weeks.” The plan is to ban all said abortions, with an exception for victims of rape and incest.
Stanek however, does not support this exception: “There should have never been a rape-incest exception to begin with,” she said. “We’re talking about five months along in pregnancy. Certainly by that time, mothers should know that they’re pregnant. And certainly, babies, even if they’re conceived in rape or incest, are innocent victims too and shouldn’t be put to death.”
Stanek said this exception exists in order to avoid public relations problems that have occurred in the past regarding candidates struggling with the issue of rape and abortion.
Although Speaker Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had planned for Republican Women to be the face of this legislation, GOP women, Reps. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C. and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., clearly renounced their support because they had qualms about forcing victims of crime to bring a police report with them to get an abortion.
Stanek sees this aspect of the legislation as an integral one. She says, Late-term abortions aren’t good for women to begin with, but taking out this reporting requirement would just give a huge loophole to abortionists to check that box every time a woman came in for a late-term abortion and say she’s been raped.”
She also argues that this feature of the legislation helps the victims as well. “Making women report their crime to police protects other women from being victimized by these sexual perpetrators and protects the very women themselves against these perpetrators from violating them again,” she said. “Some of these women are victims of incest, and girls are victims of incest. If they don’t have to report the crime, then the evidence is covered up, literally killed when the abortion is committed.”
Stanek and her fellow protesters recognize that that the sit-in could have some negative legal repercussions, but they are willing to take the risk. For Stanek and other protestors including members of the Christian Defense Coalition and other pro-life activists from around the nation, the risk is worth taking. Stanek makes it clear that they “have been patient, more than measured in [their] response, more than muted.” The March 25 sit-in will occur two months since the bill was supposed to come to a vote in the House. Stanek said, “we’re going to risk arrest, but this form of civil disobedience is nothing compared to what is happening to these children every day.”
“There have been no excuses made,” Stanek said. “They did promise to bring the bill up right away, and they haven’t. That is precisely the reason that after two months of waiting, we are going to Washington, D.C., and we are going to force them to address this.”
The name of the event is #FreeTheBan, and they plan to do just that: free the ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.