WASHINGTON – Rep. Trent Franks’ bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks passed its first hurdle Tuesday, clearing a House subcommittee on a 6-4 straight party-line vote in the face of strong Democratic opposition.
Opponents said the bill flies in the face of court rulings, as recently as last month, that rejected similar bans and protected abortion rights.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., one of the four subcommittee Democrats who voted against the bill, called it “clearly unconstitutional” and “misguided.”
“Anyone who votes for this bill today is defying the courts,” Nadler said.
But supporters of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act said there is scientific evidence that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation. They also pointed to Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor convicted this year of murder in the deaths of fetuses.
“The case of Kermit Gosnell shocked the sensibilities of millions of Americans,” said Franks, a Glendale Republican. “However, the crushing fact is that abortions just like the one caused by Kermit Gosnell have been happening hundreds of times every single day for decades in America.”
The bill must still be approved by the full House Judiciary Committee and the full House, where a nearly identical bill of Franks’ failed last fall.
That bill would have applied only to the District of Columbia as did the current bill – until Franks amended it to apply nationwide. He cited the Gosnell case as one of the reasons to expand the bill nationally.
Nadler said Tuesday that while the Gosnell case was clearly murder, it does not make the case that all late-term abortions are murder.
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said the bill not only goes against the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, recognizing a woman’s right to an abortion, but is also at odds with a federal appeals court ruling last month that struck down an Arizona law similar to Franks’ bill.
Conyers said it is inappropriate for an all-male committee to decide on a ban, and called it “shocking” that the bill does not make an exception for victims of rape or incest or for women endangered by a pregnancy.
Opponents argued that the bill’s claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks or earlier is extreme and at odds with the majority of scientists and medical professionals. Nadler accused the Republicans of waging a “war on women” through such bills.
Franks said people who make that accusation “overlook the fact that roughly half of these babies that are so tortuously killed each day are just little tiny women.”
But Nadler said that those who think a woman “is too stupid and immature to make the choice for herself” are the ones disrespecting women.
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon