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US House votes for 20-week abortion ban

The US House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday voted in favor of a bill [HR 1797] that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill passed by a vote of 228-196 [roll call vote] mainly along party lines. The White House on Monday expressed opposition [statement, PDF] to the legislation: "If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill." Before it reaches the president, the bill must pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. The legislation has not been scheduled for a vote and is not expected to be scheduled in the near future.

Multiple states have attempted to impose greater restrictions on abortion over the past several years. A similar Arizona law was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge just last month, and another similar law was enjoined [JURIST reports] by a Georgia state court in December. The Wisconsin State Assembly [official website] approved a bill [SB 206] last week that will require those women seeking abortions to review an ultrasound of the fetus before having the procedure. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in May in the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] seeking to permanently enjoin a state law [HB 2443, PDF] that penalizes doctors, not patients, who perform abortions when the patient's decision is based solely on the gender or race of the fetus. Also last month a judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas [official website] temporarily blocked enforcement of a law banning abortions 12 weeks into a pregnancy [JURIST report].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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