Hirono: Backers of Pain-Capable Abortion Ban Should Focus on Kids ‘Here Already’

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Senator Mazie Hirono on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018 (Erin Schaff/Reuters)

Senator Mazie Hirono said Tuesday that supporters of a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy — the point at which an unborn child can feel pain — should instead focus on those kids “very much here already.”

“The word hypocritical does even begin to cover what is happening to women and children across our country,” the Hawaii Democrat said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act introduced by Republican Lindsey Graham. “I hope supporters of the bills that we’re talking about today, both in the states and in Congress, turn their efforts to improving the lives of the children who are very much here already and who are so poorly served by the Trump administration and its policies.”

Hirono also accused Republicans of not being “interested in making the lives of children better” and mentioned lawmakers’ calls to scrap the Affordable Care Act and the Trump administration’s effort to cut Education Department funding by $7.1 billion in 2020.

Earlier this year, Hirono opposed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a similar bill sponsored by Republican senator Ben Sasse that would have made it mandatory for doctors to provide immediate care for infants who survive a botched abortion. She called that proposal a “threat to women’s reproductive health.”

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“This legislation uses a false premise to inflame the public, shame women, and intimidate health-care providers,” she said at the time. “When you strip away the ultra-conservative rhetoric, you’re left with a very simple argument from supporters of this legislation: that the moral judgments of right-wing politicians in Washington should supersede a medical professional’s judgment and a woman’s decision.”

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