A former abortionist who said he had performed some 1,200 abortions before his conversion to pro-life activist, said Thursday at a House subcommittee hearing that abortion causes pain to unborn babies.

“If anybody thinks that ripping off arms and legs and crushing these children the way we’re doing during these procedures isn’t painful, they’re just kidding themselves … badly kidding themselves,” Dr. Anthony Levatino said at a hearing on the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Levantino was one of four witnesses at the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice hearing to discuss fetal pain and the bill, H.R. 1797, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks across the nation.

The first bill, introduced on April 26, would have applied the restriction only to the District of Columbia. But on May 17, Chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), announced that he would amend the bill in committee to apply nationwide.

During the hearing, Franks showed photographs of aborted babies that allegedly died at the hands of an abortionist in Texas. Levantino told Franks that he estimated the babies were between 24 and 26 weeks gestation.

“These children almost had their heads torn off,” Levantino said.

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