Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced today that he was setting up a cloture vote next week to proceed on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The bill, which passed the House last fall, would prohibit late-term abortions performed after 20 weeks. The text of the bill notes that as early as 8 weeks, the fetus responds to touch, and 20 weeks is the development point at which studies have shown the fetus is able to feel pain.
As is standard with laws restricting abortions, exceptions are carved out for rape, incest, or when necessary to save the life of the mother.
Violations of the law would be a crime, and possible penalties would include a fine and up to five years in prison. These criminal sanctions would not be applied to women who undergo abortions; the bill specifically bars prosecution of women who undergo an abortion in violation of the law, for that violation or any conspiracy to violate the law.
In his remarks supporting the bill, McConnell mentioned the recent March for Life and said that Congress now “has an opportunity to take a step forward” to follow the example of those who marched, “to speak up for unborn children whom our legal system has denied the right to life.”
Calling the bill “long-overdue,” McConnell noted, “The United States is currently one of just seven countries – including China and North Korea – that permits elective abortion after 20 weeks.”
“It is time we begin to remedy this obvious and tragic moral wrong,” said McConnell, saying that he was proud to co-sponsor the bill and looked forward to voting for it.
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