Anti-abortion forces call on Hagan to take stand on 20-week ban

11/14/2013 5:01 PM

11/14/2013 5:02 PM

Anti-abortion factions began lining up Thursday to pressure U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan to support a Republican-backed bill that would ban abortions beginning at 20 weeks.

The N.C. Values Coalition, the N.C. Family Policy Council and the Susan B. Anthony List issued a joint statement calling on the North Carolina Democrat to support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, introduced last week by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“Scientific research shows that at 20 weeks, the unborn child in the womb can feel the excruciating pain of death by abortion,” John L. Rustin, president of the Family Policy Council, said in the statement. “North Carolina citizens want to know where Senator Hagan comes down on this most pressing issue that impacts the weakest and most vulnerable among us.”

Whether there is such a thing as “fetal pain” is not a settled medical question, and it remains controversial.

About three-fourths of the Senate’s Republicans are co-sponsoring the bill, which would reduce by about a month the period in which abortions are legal. North Carolina’s other senator, Sen. Richard Burr, is one of the sponsors.

A spokesman for state House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is running for the GOP nomination to challenge Hagan next year, said Tillis “absolutely” supports the bill.

A spokesman for Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte said the same.

“This is an issue that comes down to plain common sense,” Harris said in a statement his campaign released. “When it comes to protecting the lives of unborn babies beginning at 20 weeks, more than halfway through pregnancy, it shouldn’t take much time to offer support.”

Dr. Greg Brannon, a Cary physician who is also running in the GOP primary, has said he supports any legislation that would end abortion outright.

Hagan’s campaign did not immediately respond Thursday.

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