House Republicans have scrapped a planned vote on a bill that was aimed at effectively banning late-term abortions, opting to vote instead on a safer bill which would ban federal funding for abortions.
The reversal comes after a contentious closed-door meeting held Wednesday in which a moderate faction of GOP lawmakers expressed concern over possible political fallout should the bill, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, be passed.
This despite the fact that in 2013 the GOP-controlled House voted 228-196 in favor of a similar version of the bill despite having a smaller majority.
Slated for a vote Thursday and timed to coincide with a March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the passage of Roe v. Wade, the bill would have prohibited abortions past 20 weeks except in cases where the mother’s health was at risk or in cases of rape or incest.
The measure would have required pregnant women citing the rape or incest exception to have reported the crimes to law enforcement before obtaining an abortion.
According to several reports, a key figure in the decision to nix the planned vote is Rep. Renee Ellmers, a North Carolina Republican.
Despite having been an outspoken supporter of the bill in 2013 — she endorsed it on the House floor — Ellmers expressed concern this go-round that it would turn off women and young people.
But besides political ramifications, Ellmers also claimed the new version of the bill was different from the previous one.
“It really isn’t the same as it was last year,” Ellmers told The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack. “It is the most confusing thing I’ve ever seen.”
But as McCormack points out, the bills, both of which were proposed by Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, are nearly identical. The bill died in 2013 in the hands of the Democratic-controlled Senate.
As with the 2013 version, the White House promised that President Obama would veto the bill should it wind up on his desk.