A House bill banning
abortions after 20 weeks on Monday received the official backing of the
The White House “strongly supports” the Republican efforts to “secure
critical pro-life protections” and believes “America’s children deserve
the stronger protections” that the bill would provide.
“The bill, if enacted into law, would help to facilitate the culture of
life to which our Nation aspires,” the statement said. “Additionally,
the bill would promote a science-based approach to unborn life, as
recent advancements have revealed that the physical structures necessary
to experience pain are developed within 20 weeks of fertilization”
Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks is sponsoring the bill and it is
scheduled to come up for a vote on Tuesday in the House.
The bill would criminalize abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy,
introducing fines and jail sentences - up to five years – for those who
perform or attempt an abortion.
The measure would not penalize women seeking abortions after 20 weeks
and would allow the procedure in the case of rape, incest, or to save
the life of the mother.
Pro-choice groups have come out in staunch opposition to the bill,
calling it “cruel” and “unconstitutional.”
"20 week abortion bans are: unpopular, unconstitutional, part of the
agenda to ban ALL abortion,” tweeted Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood ✔ @PPact
20 week abortion bans are:
- part of the agenda to ban ALL abortion#NoAbortionBan
The Guttmacher Institute's director of public policy, Heather Boonstra,
wrote in an op-ed for The Hill, saying the bill’s claim that unborn
children can feel pain after 20 weeks “is not supported by the
preponderance of scientific evidence.”
She also slammed the bill’s "particularly callous and cruel rape and
incest exceptions" that require women to wait 48 hours and have two
doctor visits with two different abortion providers before being allowed
A similar bill passed the House back in 2015 but was later blocked by
Senate Democrats, The Hill reported.
The new abortion bill is likely to pass the Republican-majority House
but it might face opposition in the Senate where the rules require
larger majority – meaning Republicans would need to sway at least eight
Democrats to pass the bill.