Yesterday, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives advanced a so-called “fetal pain” bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Fortunately, it is not expected to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama would veto the bill. Thus, the bill is largely symbolic.
The Orwellian-worded bill called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based on the idea, unsupported by the medical community, that fetuses can feel pain (and pleasure! They like to masturbate!) after 20 weeks. Numerous other bills have cropped up around the country, from Minnesota to Indiana to Texas, based on the same idea.
Not surprisingly, Republicans have a renewed vigor for “fetal pain” bills after the trial of Kermit Gosnell, a doctor who was found to have been killing babies in botched abortions — ironically, because the women who went to his inexpensive, illegally-run clinic were unable to obtain safer, earlier abortions. The House bill is sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who made headlines last week for saying that pregnancy from rape is rare.
The nationwide bill includes an exemption to protect the life (but not health) of the mother and in cases of rape and incest, but only so long as the sexual assault has been reported to authorities. As reported by Mother Jones, the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funds from paying for abortions, doesn’t even require women or girls to report to authorities they have been raped in order to obtain an abortion.
Abortions after 20 weeks account for only 1.4 percent of all abortions. The vast majority of abortions take place in the first trimester. Many late-term abortions are actually wanted pregnancies in which fetal abnormalities were not revealed until later in the pregnancy.
Contact the author at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.
[Image of the Capitol via Shutterstock]