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Image: Cruz, Rubio Pushing 20-Week Abortion Ban Bill in Senate

Cruz, Rubio Pushing 20-Week Abortion Ban Bill in Senate

Monday, 29 Jul 2013 12:04 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rob Portman have been quietly mapping a strategy to advance a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks, even though Senate Democrats likely will kill it.

The three freshman Republican want the Senate to have the same debate that's been going on in state legislatures, reports The New York Times.

Along with other Republicans, the three are expected to introduce the abortion ban when Congress returns from its August recess, sources told The Times.

Editor's Note: Over 50? Check Out These Free Government Giveaways...

A similar ban passed the Republican-controlled House in June,  and even if the Senate would pass a ban, President Barack Obama likely would veto it.

"I think there's significant support across the country for the idea that after 20 weeks, abortion should be significantly limited," said Rubio, who is seen as a likely candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. "Irrespective of how people may feel about the issue, we're talking about five months into a pregnancy. People certainly feel there should be significant restrictions on that."

Enforcing an abortion ban also may work politically for Florida's Rubio, who has been criticized heavily by some tea party conservatives who say he's worked against the party's traditional values by supporting immigration legislation. Cruz of Texas and Portman of Ohio also are seen as possible 2016 presidential contenders.

Still, abortion-ban backers may find that some Republican senators are unenthusiastic the debate.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, for one, believes the GOP should be addressing the nation's growing energy issues, economic woes, and fighting Obamacare, not keeping up the difficult battle for a nationwide abortion ban.

Other Republicans, such Sen. John Cornyn, said that while he supported the 20-week ban recently passed in his home state of Texas, he thinks "this can adequately be taken care of at the state level. And so there may not be a need for the federal government to get involved."

At the same time, some Senate Democrats are concerned that voting against an abortion ban could cause problems for members who are up for reelection next year, especially in states such as Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Carolina, where strict abortion bans have been enacted.

A late-term-abortion ban also may be able to attract public support.

A recent Washington Post-ABC Poll shows that more than half of Americans prefer a ban on abortion after 20 weeks rather than 24 weeks as established in the Supreme Court's landmark Roe vs. Wade decision.

Abortion-rights groups complain that the bills also are a way for pro-life groups to keep the issue in the courts and one day having legal abortions overturned.

Editor's Note: Over 50? Check Out These Free Government Giveaways...

"These bills are not happenstance," said Donna Crane, policy director of abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America. "These bills are a calculated, cold strategy."

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