The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would ban abortions in the United States after 20 weeks.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was approved in a vote of 20-12.
“The taking of innocent life is a practice all too common in this nation,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said in a statement. “The recent Gosnell trial reminds us that when newborn babies are cut with scissors, they whimper and cry, and flinch from pain. And unborn babies when harmed also whimper and cry, and flinch from pain. Delivered or not, babies are babies, and it has been shown that they can feel pain at least by 20 weeks.”
“It is time to welcome young children who can feel pain into the human family,” he added. “And this bill, at last, will do just that.”
The legislation’s chief sponsor, Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks, called for lawmakers to come together in agreement that abortions after 20 weeks — when some research shows unborn babies can feel pain — should be banned.
“Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be,” Franks added in a statement. “This is not who we are.”
The legislation has the expected opposition of some in the pro-choice community.
“The Republican Party and its allies are demonizing the fight for reproductive rights and hijacking the legislative process to limit or even abolish women’s access to reproductive health care. But women aren’t fooled — and we intend to win this fight. The stakes couldn’t be higher: It’s a matter of access to vital reproductive health care,” Terry O’Neill, President National Organization for Women said in an email to supporters Tuesday.
The legislation is expected to be brought to the House floor next week.