- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The House will vote next week on a bill banning late-term abortions when the fetus can feel pain, Republican leaders announced Tuesday.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would make abortion illegal at 20 weeks gestation. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, said the legislation is aimed at protecting the “voiceless, the vulnerable, and the marginalized.”

“It will protect those children who science has proven can feel pain, and give them a chance to grow and live full and happy lives,” Mr. McCarthy said in a statement. “We have an obligation to speak and defend for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

The House will vote on the bill on Oct. 3.

A 20-week abortion ban is one of the pro-life movement’s top legislative priorities.

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said the bill could prevent as many as 20,000 late-term abortions every year.

“If enacted, this common sense policy would limit abortion to 20 weeks and finally join the consensus shared by eight out of 10 Americans — abortion should have real legal limits,” Ms. Mancini said in a statement. “This bill would not only save 20,000 lives every year, but would educate the public on the humanity of the unborn person and affirm the science of fetal pain early in development.”

Sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, the legislation makes exceptions for pregnancies conceived through rape or incest, and those which threaten the life of the mother.

Republican lawmakers — including Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Frank, Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri — held a press conference Tuesday announcing the vote.

“It is difficult to imagine what could be more important than establishing who is protected under the law and who is not — who is given a chance at life, and who is denied it,” Ms. Black said in prepared remarks.

The press conference was also attended by pro-life leaders and Micah Pickering, a 5-year-old boy who was born prematurely at 20 weeks.

His mother, Danielle, held up a picture of Micah when he was born, pointing out that he was the size of a package of M&Ms.

“This is Micah, because he was allowed to live,” Ms. Pickering said.

In a tweet Tuesday, NARAL Pro-Choice America called the legislation “absurd & dangerous.”

The House previously passed a 20-week abortion ban in 2015, but it was blocked by Democrats in the Senate.

The bill is likely to pass in the House again, but could require 60 votes to override a filibuster in the Senate.

President Trump promised to sign the legislation during the campaign.

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