House Panel Expands Reach of Bill to Ban Late-Stage Abortions

Wednesday, 05 Jun 2013 01:16 PM

By Dan Weil

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A House Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday broadened the scope of a bill aimed at banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Subcommittee on the Constitution changed the proposal of its chairman, Rep. Trent Franks, to apply the prohibition nationwide, The Hill reports. The original bill pertained only to Washington, D.C.

Franks approved the change, comparing late-term abortions to the crimes of Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted last month of killing three infants in botched abortions.

"The trial of Kermit Gosnell exposed late abortions for what they really are: relocated infanticide," the Arizona Republican said in a statement. "I look forward to the bill's moving on to the full Judiciary Committee."

Franks' bill forbids abortions after 20 weeks based on the premise — disputed by some — that fetuses can feel pain at that point. The ban excludes women whose lives are in danger, but includes victims of rape or incest, The Hill reports.

A version of the bill applying only to Washington failed in the House last year under a rules suspension that required a two-thirds majority to pass the bill.


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