Tonight, the House of Representatives passed an abortion regulation bill that is both restrictive and extensive. Proposed by Arizonan representative Trent Franks, the bill — known as the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” — would prevent abortions after 20 weeks (halfway through the pregnancy and the second trimester). This cutoff is based on the theory that fetuses can feel pain 20 weeks after pregnancy begins. Medically speaking, the theory is still contested.
The bill passed 228 to 196, though it likely won't make it much further, as Obama has already issued a veto threat should the measure eventually make it through the Senate. Many, including John Boehner and Marjorie Dannenfelser (president of the anti-abortion action committee the Susan B. Anthony List), are framing this bill in light of the publicity around the trial of Kermit Gosnell, an abortion practitioner in Philadelphia who was convicted last month of the first-degree murder of three living babies delivered at his clinic. Worth noting: After the votes came in, Organizing for Action released a statement calling the bill "one of the most unbelievable, unconstitutional attacks on women's health in a long time."
If Franks' name sounds familiar to you, it might be because he made headlines earlier this month for saying that very few rapes actually result in pregnancies (though he later clarified that his intended meaning was that few pregnancies terminated after the fifth month are the result of rape). The bill offers exception for rapes reported within 48 hours, minors who are victims of incest, and cases that put the mother's life at stake. According to the Statement of Administration Policy issued by the White House, the bill "would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose…This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution.” (The Washington Post)
Image: Via The Washington Post.