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House rejects 'fetal pain' bill

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] Wednesday rejected by a vote of 250-162 [roll call] a controversial bill [summary] that would have mandated medical practitioners to inform women seeking an abortion after 20 weeks of the pain the procedure causes to an unborn fetus. The Unknown Child Awareness Act, HR 6099 [text], introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) [official website], would also also require women to decide in writing whether fetal anesthesia is used in the procedure. Acknowledging the near certainty of its rejection, the bill's supporters said they proposed the vote to spur debate on the issue.

Last week, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) [official website] encouraged the House to approve the bill [statement] and send the legislation to the Senate, where he promised to seek a vote. Reuters has more.

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