White House Issues Veto Threat Of Bill Which Restricts Abortions Past 20 Weeks

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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President Obama is again threatening to wield his veto pen, this time to strike down a bill which would restrict abortions past 20 weeks except in the case of rape and incest, the White House announced Tuesday.

Proposed by Arizona Rep. Trent Franks earlier this month, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, or H.R. 36, would prohibit abortions of unborn children past 20 weeks except where necessary to save the life of the mother and where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest against a minor.

In order to qualify for the rape and incest exception, those criminal acts must have been reported to law enforcement.

The House is scheduled to vote on the measure on Thursday.

The White House opposes the bill on both pro-choice grounds and because it claims the rape and incest exception shows “complete disregard” for victims.

“If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill,” the White House’s statement reads, asserting that the bill “would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose.”

In 2013, Franks introduced similar legislation, which Obama also threatened to veto. It passed the House 228-196. It was referred to the then-Democratic controlled Senate but was never advanced.

A different outcome is likely this time, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has previously pledged that he would advance the bill under a Republican majority.

“Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor,” the White House statement reads.

“Furthermore, the provision that requires rape and incest survivors to report the crime to a law enforcement agency or child welfare authority in order to have access to an abortion after the 20-week mark demonstrates a complete disregard for the women who experience sexual assault and the barriers they may face in reporting,” the statement continues, claiming that research indicates that most survivors of sexual assault do not report the crimes to police.

Besides opposition from the White House, H.R. 36, which has 158 co-sponsors, is facing push back from some House GOP members.

During a closed-door meeting held last week, some Republicans expressed concern over the timing and the optics of the bill.

“I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up next week,” North Carolina Republican Renee Elmers told National Journal. “We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward. The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that millennials—social issues just aren’t as important [to them].”

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