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House votes to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy
The legislation mirrors state-by-state efforts to place limits on abortion based on the length of time post-fertilization, although courts have struck down some of the laws.
Republicans sent Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee to lead debate on the floor — an unusual move because she is not a member of the House Judiciary Committee that sent the bill to the chamber. There are no women among the committee’s 23 Republican members, a fact Democrats used as leverage in decrying the bill.
Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter, New York Democrat, said women’s health issues are being guided by men in “blue suits and red ties who seem to believe that once they get elected to something they have the right to play doctor.”
Last week, Mr. Franks took heat for saying the number of pregnancies resulting from rape tend to be “very low.” He later clarified his remarks, saying abortions conducted after the fifth month of pregnancy are rarely the result of rapes.
He said Tuesday that by the sixth month of gestation, when his bill goes into effect, “a lot of those questions are answered.”
Yet his prior comments resonated for days, in view of recent history.
Former Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican, lost his bid for a Senate seat after suggesting rape victims can thwart pregnancy. During an interview, he said that in “a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
In Indiana, Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock lost to Democrat Joe Donnelly last year after saying that “even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
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About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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