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Sen. Mike Lee wants Senate to review abortion policies

Published: Sunday, July 5 2015 11:12 p.m. MDT

This Jan. 31, 2013, file photo, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Sen. Mike Lee introduced a resolution Monday calling for the Senate to review public policies that he says led to the illegal abortion practices of Philadelphia doctor currently on trial for murder. (J. Scott Applewhite, ASSOCIATED PRESS) This Jan. 31, 2013, file photo, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Sen. Mike Lee introduced a resolution Monday calling for the Senate to review public policies that he says led to the illegal abortion practices of Philadelphia doctor currently on trial for murder. (J. Scott Applewhite, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mike Lee introduced a resolution Monday calling for the Senate to review public policies that he says led to the illegal abortion practices of Philadelphia doctor currently on trial for murder.

"Congress and states should gather information about and correct abusive, unsanitary and illegal abortion practices and the interstate referral of women and girls to facilities engaged in dangerous or illegal second- and third-trimester procedures,” the resolution said.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is charged with killing four babies allegedly born alive at his clinic in West Philadelphia. He also is charged in the 2009 overdose death of a patient, a 41-year-old mother of three. A jury was in its fourth day of deliberation in the case Monday.

The clinic served mostly low-income women and teens, and went years without a state inspection. Gosnell also faces hundreds of abortion-law violations, for allegedly performing third-trimester abortions and failing to counsel patients.

Shown is the directory at the Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women at the clinic, was charged Wednesday Jan. 19, 2011, with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said Wednesday.  (Matt Rourke, Associated Press) Shown is the directory at the Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women at the clinic, was charged Wednesday Jan. 19, 2011, with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said Wednesday. (Matt Rourke, Associated Press)

“The facts of the Gosnell case are disturbing and heartbreaking,” Lee said. “The lack of oversight at abortion facilities puts women’s lives at risk and leads to the kind of unconscionable practices we have seen recently."

The Utah Republican said the Senate should formally recognize the problem and investigate the causes, review the effects of certain policies, and determine what how to prevent any woman from being subjected to those practices.

The resolution, which has 10 co-sponsors, also recognizes that “there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at 20 weeks after fertilization, or earlier,” and resolves that “there is a compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children beginning at least from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.”

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