Along a largely party-line vote of 242-184, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday to ban the better part of abortions after twenty weeks. Yesterday’s bill was a re-structured rendering of an earlier bill removed from consideration when opposition rose among several GOP women who asserted the January measure lacked consideration for casualties of rape and incest and threatened to abandon support.
The legislation, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, will ban abortions after twenty weeks, except in the instance a woman receives doctor’s care or counseling 48 hours prior from a facility which does not provide abortions and compels the notification of child protective service or law enforcement before an abortion.
Of the passage of the bill, Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Committee on the Judiciary, said: “(this is) a victory for the most innocent and defenseless among us, our children.” GOP House member, Renee Ellmers, who disapproved of the January version stated: “As difficult as this process has been, we have arrived at a better bill.”
On behalf of the White House Press, spokesman Josh Earnest responded: “It’s disgraceful that House Republicans would be considering a party-line vote on a piece of legislation that would continue to impose even additional harsh burdens on survivors of sexual assault, rape and incest.” The Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion advocacy group, called the bill “cruel and unconstitutional.” Other pro-abortion groups claimed “the bill would extend the government’s reach into doctors’ offices.”
The bill now heads to the Senate where it faces an unclear future; the White House is expected to veto any measure which reaches President Obama’s desk.
Despite slight movement in either direction, the public remains deeply divided on this issue.
Recent polls indicate 21% of Americans surveyed believe abortion should be legal under any circumstance, 50% approve of the legality under some circumstances and 21% believe it should be illegal under any circumstance.
Regardless of this House action, likely to achieve little, only a better informed public, free of political phraseology such as “partial-birth” or “late-term” abortions, can any authentic progress be made on an issue which polarizes as does abortion.
[gallup.com] [pewresearch.org] [reuters] [bloomberg.com]