House passes 20-week abortion ban on party-line vote

Earlier this year the GOP’s number one priority, a 20-week abortion bill, had to be pulled from the calendar after GOP women objected to certain language in the bill regarding rape and incest.

The revised bill is hardly any improvement from the original bill. Nevertheless, the Abortion Bill Passed the House today:

uterus-stateAfter months of delays, House Republicans passed a bill Wednesday that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life.

The bill, which passed 242-184 in a along mostly party lines, was pulled in late January after a number of Republican women protested a rape-reporting requirement, calling it insensitive to rape survivors who did not immediately report a sexual assault. Originally, the bill required that a rape be reported to law enforcement officials for women to be exempt from the 20-week limit. That provision was removed but, as a compromise, the bill now requires rape victims to receive counseling and face a 48-hour waiting period before getting an abortion after 20 weeks.

Thus victimizing a rape victim a second time by the state.

“This legislation is a dangerous and far-reaching attack on a women’s constitutional right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy,” the ranking Democrat of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers Jr., said Wednesday.

The Michigan Democrat also presented the bill as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade because viability is generally considered to be around 24 weeks of pregnancy, not 20, and the landmark 1973 case decided the right to privacy extended to having an abortion up to the point of viability.

TalibanRepublicans countered that at roughly 20 weeks, a fetus could feel pain. The bill’s sponsor, Arizona GOP Rep. Trent Franks said, “Our consciences need to catch up with our technology.”

Franks said protecting the lives of all Americans — “especially those who can’t defend themselves” — was the reason members are here. He called late-term abortion “the greatest human rights atrocity in the United States today.”

“This is a vote all of us will remember the rest of our lives,” Franks said.

Speaker John A. Boehner also spoke from the floor in support of the bill. He called the measure “the most pro-life legislation to ever come before this body,” and, choking back tears, he said his parents often reminded him and his 11 siblings that every child is a gift from God.

“A vote for this bill is a vote to protect innocent lives and to protect our dearest values for generations to come,” the Ohio Republican said.

But Democrats maintained that the bill was, in Rep. Steve Cohen’s words, “patently unconstitutional.”

“This bill is not about viability,” the Tennessee Democrat said. “It’s a subterfuge for viability and talks about the issue of pain. Pain is not the issue; viability is the issue.”

Democrats also maintained the bill is still insensitive to rape survivors. Conyers called the new rape exception provisions “grounded in the distrust of women.” He said the bill assumes women can not be trusted to tell the truth, “to make the best medical decisions for themselves and their families.”

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[T]he bill — which faces an unclear future in the Senate and almost certainly would be vetoed by President Barack Obama — would only affect a small number of abortions. According to 2011 Centers for Disease Control figures, approximately 1.4 percent of abortions were performed after 21 weeks, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 10,000 abortions take place after 20 weeks.

The Obama administration repeated its threat to veto the House bill. WH: Abortion ban’s treatment of rape victims ‘disgraceful’.

3 responses to “House passes 20-week abortion ban on party-line vote

  1. I’d like to point out that women several important points that lawmakers fail to consider when advancing these 20 week bans: women often don’t have information yet on severe birth defects such as Down’s sundrome and other trisomy defects, some of which are pretty awful. Most likely they don’t have information on whether the baby is developing normally, such as in the case of anencephaly, a baby that does not have a brain, or hydrocephaly, water on the brain, and certain cases of polycystic kidney disease that will cause the baby to die within a few hours after birth. None of these things qualify as endangering the mother’s health under these bans (although in fact pregnancy of any kind carries with it a significant risk to the mother greater than the near zero risks of terminating the pregnancy especially done in a safe sterile environment. And finally some rape victims suffer from traumatic amnesia, And in the case familial rape the emotional trauma can be so bad that the victim may not be able to seek abortion services i a timely manner, leading them to go to a doctor only after the 20 weeks have expired. These bans will lead women and children to seek illegal pregancy termination. We are walking the clock back tothe point where the coat hanger abd the back alley abortionist will return.

  2. I’d like to point out that women several important points that lawmakers fail to consider when advancing these 20 week bans: women often don’t have information yet on severe birth defects such as Down’s sundrome and other trisomy defects, some of which are pretty awful. Most likely they don’t have information on whether the baby is developing normally, such as in the case of anencephaly, a baby that does not have a brain, or hydrocephaly, water on the brain, and certain cases of polycystic kidney disease that will cause the baby to die within a few hours after birth. None of these things qualify as endangering the mother’s health under these bans (although in fact pregnancy of any kind carries with it a significant risk to the mother greater than the near zero risks of terminating the pregnancy especially done in a safe sterile environment. And finally some rape victims suffer from traumatic amnesia, And in the case familial rape the emotional trauma can be so bad that the victim may not be able to seek abortion services i a timely manner, leading them to go to a doctor only after the 20 weeks have expired. These bans will lead women and children to seek illegal pregancy termination. We are walking the clock back tothe point where the coat hanger abd the back alley abortionist will return.

  3. Frances Perkins

    Never use the term pro life. Use the term “Pro government Reproduction Police”, because that is what they are. Hypocrisy from Franks who used many artificial technical means to have kids himself. He is “pro reproduction police” only on his terms.