Senate defeats 20-week abortion ban

Senate defeats 20-week abortion ban

The US Senate voted 51-46 [roll call] on Monday, stopping the advancement of a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The House approved [JURIST Report] the bill in October in a 237-189 vote.

The bill [materials], entitled the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act, was sponsored by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham [official website]. The legislation would make it a crime to perform an abortion if a fetus was 20 weeks or older punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine. Exceptions allowing abortion included provisions for performing them when necessary to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. Pregnant women procuring an unlawful abortion would not be subject to prosecution for violating the law or conspiracy to violate the law.

Commentators have mentioned that the vote put pressure on Democrats who will be up for reelection in states that President Trump won in the 2016 election. President Trump made a statement [White House Statement] on the failure of the Senate vote expressing his disappointment. Abortion rights groups said that the 20 week mark was arbitrary as a large majority of abortions occur before the 20 week mark and according to information [document] from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a fetus is not viable until 24 weeks of pregnancy.

A little more than a third of states have passed similar 20-week abortion bans and this remains to be a notable partisan issue.