The House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would ban abortion in the United States after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The Republican-led panel voted 20-12 to forward the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to the full chamber based on the belief that fetuses can feel pain after the 20-week threshold.
Its chief sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks, initially filed a version of the bill that would only apply to the District of Columbia, citing Congress’ legislative oversight of the nation’s capital.
But he amended the bill to cover the entire nation after abortion provider Kermit Gosnell was convicted of killing newly born babies at his Philadelphia clinic.
“Delivered or not, babies are babies, and it has been shown that they can feel pain at least by 20 weeks,” Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, said. “It is time to welcome young children who can feel pain into the human family.”
Mr. Franks drew a rebuke from Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday for arguing against an amendment that would make an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape.
He said such pregnancies rarely occur, a comment that Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat, decried as baseless and “astonishing” given GOP lawmakers failures at the ballot box after politically damaging attempts to comment on rape and resulting pregnancies, according to a report in the Washington Post.