The House of Representatives voted 228 to 196 on Tuesday evening to pass a bill that prohibits most abortions later than 22 weeks in pregnancy (20 weeks after conception), the point by which some infants can survive long-term if born and the point by which medical science indicates they can feel pain. The bill contains exceptions for late-term abortions in the cases of rape, incest, or when a physical health condition puts the life of the mother at risk.
It was mostly a party-line vote, with six Democrats voting for the bill and six Republicans voting against it. The White House issued a veto threat against the bill on Monday night. Though the bill stands no chance of becoming law so long as President Obama is in the White House, advocates see it as an important first step to reining in late-term abortions.
The vote comes in response to the trial of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder for severing the spines of three infants moments after they were born. Asked last Thursday what the difference was between the Gosnell slayings and late-term abortions, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi couldn't answer the question:
On Thursday, a House Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on a bill that would ban most abortions during the last four months of pregnancy nationwide. Proponents of the legislation frequently cited the murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, as well as the words of President Obama himself, to make their case for a new law.
Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona announced Friday afternoon that he will introduce a bill that would ban abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy (20 weeks after conception) nationwide--with exceptions for when the life or physical health of the mother is at risk.
At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Senate majority leader Harry Reid blamed laws restricting abortion and pro-lifers who picket abortion clinics for pushing women to the clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted Monday for murdering three infants.