Repealing and replacing Obamacare looks to be a dead issue for now, but the GOP has set its sights on a new initiative: The House will vote next week on a 20-week abortion ban.
Under the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” performing or attempting an abortion after 20 weeks pregnant would be illegal, with doctors and care providers facing a fine, five years’ imprisonment, or both if convicted. The bill doesn’t specifically target those who seek the procedure, but rather punishes medical practitioners who perform an abortion after 20 weeks.
The bill also allows for exceptions to the ban: sexual assault, incest, and pregnancy complications that could endanger the patient’s life.
Though a bill on such a ban passed in the House in 2015, Senate Democrats prevented it from heading to the White House. It remains unlikely that the bill will pass in the Senate this year, either, as it needs 60 votes to reach the White House and Republicans only hold 52 seats. Still, anti-abortion advocates are thrilled with the bill and hope it lands on President Trump’s desk.
“We look forward to the vote next week, the vote in the Senate after and the signing from the president of the United States of America to stop this and keep us out of the company of North Korea and China as outliers of this law,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said, according to the Hill.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in an email warning abortion rights advocates about the bill that Republicans are simplifying a complicated matter.
“The bill targets women facing any circumstances, whether complications or fetal anomalies are discovered after the midpoint in pregnancy, whether they endure economic insecurity, or if the woman’s own health is at risk,” she said. “Families in these cases need the best medical advice and care, not politicians picking an ideological fight.”
The House is expected to vote on the bill Oct. 3.