Citizens and leaders gather at the U.S. Capitol to support quality health care for all.

Ted Eytan/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Majority of Senate Democrats sink 20-week abortion ban bill

Three Democrats voted for the measure.


Samantha Grasso


Published Jan 30, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 2:53 am CDT

A piece of anti-abortion legislation criminalizing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy has failed in the Senate.

According to the New York Times, the Senate voted 51 to 46 to block the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which needed 60 votes to pass. Violators of the law, either having attempted or performed an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, would face up to five years in prison, a fine, or both, but the bill made exceptions for rape and incest reported to authorities.

The bill, and its House-passed counterpart of the same name, relies on the scientifically false belief that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has maintained that 20 weeks is too early for a fetus to feel pain.

A majority of Senate Democrats voted against the bill, with the noted exception of Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey. All three senators had voted for similar legislation in 2015 and are running for re-election this year in Republican-led states.

“We are building momentum for eventual federal legislation,” Mallory Quigley, spokesperson for anti-abortion candidate group Susan B. Anthony List. “We want to get vulnerable Democrats who are up for re-election this year on the record once again.”

H/T The Cut

Share this article
*First Published: Jan 30, 2018, 7:20 am CST