House lawmakers were set to vote Thursday on a bill that would ban almost all abortions at 20 weeks post-conception, but NPR’s Juana Summers reports that they changed their plans late Wednesday as some lawmakers voiced concerns that the bills language went too far.
“Some Republican lawmakers — many of them women — raised objections that the bill’s language was too restrictive. They took issue with a provision in the bill that would exempt rape victims from the abortion restrictions, but only if they report the attack to police.
“Democrats opposed the bill and the White House had threatened a veto.”
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., told Juana that the 20-week limit wasn’t dead, saying “The ‘pain-capable’ legislation is only delayed. … It’ll be up on the floor soon. We are working through a few bits of text.”
The hold-up is particularly embarrassing for lawmakers as it comes on the eve of the annual March for Life, which the Associated Press reports will bring thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators to the capital Thursday.
The Washington Post describes the decision as another sign of rifts in the new, larger GOP majority in the House, which includes more center-right legislators from swing districts.
“Already this month, a large bloc of moderate Republicans voted against a spending bill that would repeal President Obama’s changes to immigration policy enacted by executive action. More than two dozen Republicans from metropolitan areas with large immigrant populations also voted against an amendment to the bill that would end temporary legal protections to the children of illegal immigrants.”
The AP notes that more notable anti-abortion efforts are working their way through a number of state legislatures, including a bill in Kansas that would ban doctors from using forceps, tongs or other medical implements to dismember a living fetus in the womb to complete an abortion, and:
“A bill in Arkansas that would require women seeking abortion-inducing medication to take it in the presence of a doctor. …
“A bill in Mississippi that would increase the minimum waiting time from 24 hours to 72 hours before a woman could obtain an abortion.
“A bill in Missouri that would require pregnant women to get permission from the fathers before having abortions, except in cases of rape and incest.”