Friday, October 2, 2020

Pro-life implications of House sterilization vote

Today, the House of Representatives agreed to H.Res. 1153, a resolution “condemning unwanted, unnecessary medical procedures on individuals without their full, informed consent” by a vote of 232-157, with 4 members voting present.

This resolution comes after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched two investigations into allegations that women detained at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) had hysterectomies performed on them without their informed consent.

H.Res. 1153 rightly condemns sterilization that occurs without informed consent. It also states that Congress “recognizes that everyone deserves to control their own reproductive choices and make informed choices about their bodies.” This implies support for abortion on demand as that phrase is used to support abortion in other contexts.

In order to address the issue of forced abortion and sterilization in a life-affirming manner, Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), introduced H.R. 8498, the Informed Consent Act.

Currently, sterilization or abortion that occurs without informed consent is not established as a crime in the federal code. H.R. 8498 would criminalize it and impose a fine or up to ten years in prison. It provides an exception in the case of emergencies that are necessary to save the life of an individual or prevent substantial and irreversible impairment.

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