Anti-Abortion Bill Could Pass the House Today

The Republican-controlled House is expected to pass an anti-abortion bill late Tuesday that would ban abortion 20 weeks after conception. Here's everything you need to know about the controversial "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act":

  1. As you can guess by the bill's title, the logic behind it centers on the argument that fetuses can feel pain at five months, a scientific claim that, according to New Scientist , remains unproven.
  2. The bill is seen by proponents as a timely response to current events, namely the Kermit Gosnell case. Gosnell was a Philadelphia abortion provider who was sentenced to life in prison last month for the murder of three babies delivered alive. Anti-abortion supporters contend the case demonstrated the inhumanity of late-term abortions. The original bill actually only applied Washington, D.C., but expanded to the nation after the case received so much national attention.
  3. The bill has no chance of passing into law. The measure will be ignored by Senate, and the White House has issued a veto threat.
  4. The bill poses a direct challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortions legal until the time a fetus could live outside the womb, generally considered around 24 weeks. So even though the bill currently has no chance of becoming law, it does lay the groundwork for a potential future challenge to Roe v. Wade.
  5. Even though the floor manager for the bill is a women, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Democrats have pointed out that every member of the House Judiciary Committee that passed the bill, bringing it to the House, is a male.

Though the bill added provisions that included a rape and incest exception after Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) made a disastrous comment last week, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in response to the amendments, "The GOP is desperately trying to hide that the party has a deep hostility to women's rights and freedom."

Well, that's certainly one way to put it.