An abortion bill passed the House on Wednesday. The bill banned late-term abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation faces an uphill battle to become law because President Barack Obama is not expected to sign the bill.
The abortion bill passed 242 to 184. Republican Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Diane Black reportedly led an effort to tweak the bill in order to garner more Republican support for the measure. Earlier this year, some GOP lawmakers objected over a portion of the bill, which required rape victims to report the sexual assault to police in order to qualify for a late-term abortion exception written into the legislation.
The late-term abortion bill passed by the House no longer requires rape victims to file a police report in order to qualify for the exception to the 20 weeks of pregnancy ban. The abortion bill now mandates that sexual assault victims consent to medical treatment or counseling at least 48 hours before the abortion.
“It’s a stronger bill. Rather than having a woman prove she was raped, let’s give her medical care and counseling,” Representative Diane Black said about the late-term abortion bill.
The abortion bill also requires that two doctors be present when during procedures where the fetus could be born alive. The secondary doctor would be required to give neonatal care to the baby.
Pennsylvania Republican Representative Charlie Dent said he still harbors some concerns over the late-term abortion bill. The “limited” exemption victims of incest for those who are minors but not “those who are older” was also a concern noted by Representative Dent.
“This is a lot of time and energy spent on a bill that really has no chance of becoming law,” Representative Dent added.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted his support for the House abortion bill that bans most late-term abortions. However, McConnell has not said if he is planning on bringing the legislation to the floor soon. The White House threatened a veto of the later term abortion ban bill in January, deeming the legislation “an assault on a woman’s right to choose.”
The Americans United for Life, a pro-life group, praised the late-term abortions ban bill.
“This type of legislation represents the mother-child strategy that AUL Action recommends because it deals directly with the ugly reality of abortion, which hurts both mother and child,” Charmaine Yoest, the Americans United for Life president, said.