PHOENIX -- Arizona's House of Representatives voted to enact a bill on Tuesday that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, sending the closely watched measure to the Republican governor for approval.
House members passed the bill by a 37-22 vote. The measure would bar healthcare professionals from performing abortions after 20 weeks, except in the case of a medical emergency. Only a small number of these abortions are performed in Arizona.
The bill is the latest salvo in the long-running national battle over late-term abortions. Six states in the past two years have enacted bans based on hotly debated medical research suggesting a fetus feels pain starting at 20 weeks of gestation.
The bill would also require women to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to having an abortion, instead of the one hour that is currently mandated under state law.
Additionally, state officials would be required to create a website that details such items as the risks of the procedure and shows pictures of the fetus in various stages.
Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer, said she had a "strong and consistent pro-life record," but she has not yet publicly announced her position on the bill.
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortions nationwide in 1973 but allowed states to ban the procedure, unless it risked the woman's health, after the time when the fetus could potentially survive outside the womb.
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.