US House votes to ban abortion at 20 weeks News
US House votes to ban abortion at 20 weeks

The United States House of Representatives [official site] on Tuesday voted 237-189 [official vote] to approve an abortion bill [official summary] that would criminalize the medical procedure if performed after the 20 week viability mark.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), sponsored by Trent Franks (R-AZ) [official website], protects patients from prosecution, focusing instead on medical providers who perform abortions outside of the 20-week period, with limited exemptions.

(A) GENERALLY FOR UNBORN CHILDREN 20 WEEKS OR OLDER.—Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the abortion shall not be performed or attempted, if the probable post-fertilization age, as determined under paragraph (1), of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater.

Health care providers who are found guilty of performing an abortion after the 20th week would be subject to financial penalties and a period of incarceration. Additionally, the bill requires that the fetus receive medical care as a patient and that a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation be present if the attending physician believes the fetus could survive outside of the womb.

(C) REQUIREMENT AS TO MANNER OF PROCEDURE PERFORMED.—Notwithstanding the definitions of ‘abortion’ and ‘attempt an abortion’ in this section, a physician terminating or attempting to terminate a pregnancy under an exception provided by subparagraph (B) may do so only in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive.(D) REQUIREMENT THAT A PHYSICIAN TRAINED IN NEONATAL RESUSCITATION BE PRESENT.—If, in reasonable medical judgment, the pain-capable unborn child has the potential to survive outside the womb, the physician who performs or attempts an abortion under an exception provided by subparagraph (B) shall ensure a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation is present and prepared to provide care to the child consistent with the requirements of subparagraph (E)

The house began debating H.R. 36 at 3:58 pm and concluded at 6:03 pm during which time they rejected several amendments [official live stream],including a provision expanding the exception allowing for a post-20th week abortion where necessary to protect the life of the mother to include the health of the mother as well. The bill would need to be approved by the senate and signed by the President before it becomes a law.