US House votes for 20-week abortion ban

[JURIST] 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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