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":
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.