The Republican abortion agenda has emerged. Having a majority in both chambers of Congress, House Republicans are pushing for an abortion ban after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The 20th week, or the middle of the second trimester, is when some believe a fetus can start to feel pain. Republicans are likely hoping that by banning abortion after the 20th week they can gain favor with conservatives and anti-abortion activists, while not being seen as waging a war on women.
The bill, proposed on the first day of Congress last week by Reps. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), is called the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill previously passed in the House in June 2013, but then Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) refused to file it for a vote.
Now, Republicans in the House and Senate are unified under a national abortion agenda that they believe coincides with American support.
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A Gallup poll from May 2014 shows Americans are still divided on the abortion issue, with 47 percent as “pro-choice” and 46 percent as “pro-life.”
Yet, the issue is not that America is split on abortion. Republicans want the 20 week ban to reach both sides of the issue.
Once hearing that a law would prevent an abortion at the time when the baby is capable of feeling pain, or 20 weeks, The Polling Company found 64 percent of Americans were in support of a ban, with only 30 percent opposed.
“This is something we can all get together on,” said Franks. “The truth is this bill is a deeply sincere effort to protect both mothers and their pain-capable unborn babies.”
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While some abortion rights activists agree with the 20 week pain assessment, Politico reports that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say there is no legitimate scientific evidence supporting that the fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.
The 20-week abortion ban will be put to vote on Jan. 22, which is the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
But Republicans in Congress are not done with abortion bills. The Huffington Post writes that Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) introduced four bills last week that restrict Planned Parenthood funding, require abortion providers to have admitting privileges, ban abortions on the basis of sex, and allow hospitals and doctors to refuse abortion care for women.
While the Republican abortion bills are unlikely to be passed into law with President Barack Obama in the White House and the Senate without a supermajority to override his veto, the GOP in Congress is unified under their abortion agenda.