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Published: Thu, October 05, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

House passes bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks

House passes bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks

Republicans have pushed a bill through the House outlawing most late-term abortions, with Louisiana congressmen voting in support of the bill.

There would be exceptions, such as if the abortion is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

The legislation, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Children Act, has previously passed in the House twice but never made it to the Senate floor for a vote.

"This risky, out-of-touch legislation is nothing more than yet another attempt to restrict women's access to safe, legal abortion", Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in an online statement.

The Senate still must schedule consideration of the bill, but that seemed unlikely. The same is expected for this year's measure, too, as the bill needs 60 votes to pass in the Senate, of which there are 52 Republicans. However, the bill will first have to be taken up and passed by the Senate.

"And so I think that this is - it's important, and good policy, but it's also good politics", Nance added.

The House approved the measure by a near party-line 237-189 vote.

"Polls consistently show that large, diverse majorities of Americans support this legislation - women in higher numbers than men".

"Each one of these lives is so utterly precious, and we're not going to stop", said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says fetuses aren't developed enough to feel pain until 24 weeks. The legislation would make it a crime to perform or attempt an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with the possibility of a fine, up to five years in prison or both, the Hill magazine reported. That argument was echoed in a letter from the Office of Management and Budget expressing the administration's support for the bill.

The United States is now one out of only 7 countries that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks according to the statement.

It may indeed be that unborn children at even earlier stages of development experience excruciating pain as their young lives are snuffed out, which is one reason that even in such socially liberal countries as France, abortion often is heavily regulated (nearly prohibited) after the twelfth week, not the twentieth.

"It's likely a tactic to decrease access to abortion without overtly overturning Roe v. Wade", Gretchen Ely, an associate professor at the University of Buffalo's School of Social Work, said by phone.

Similar legislation is already enacted in several states.

"When abortion is banned it does not go away", said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oregon. "Being denied abortion sets women back financially while abortion allows them to continue on a path toward economic stability". "The whole concept of viability is a creation of abortion law, but we can actually save most of these kids now". Ultimately, this could be the same fate of the new iteration of the bill. "But do they talk about changing the Second Amendment?"

"What we need to learn from the Gosnell case is that late-term abortion is infanticide", wrote liberal, pro-life Daily Beast columnist Kirsten Powers.

Democrats blasted the bill as a "another shameful attack" on women's rights. In 2015, four Republicans voted against it and four Democrats voted for it.

Other than political posturing, why would Republicans try to pass such a law if its effect on the abortion rate is insignificant?

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