House Rules changes abortion bill to allow rape, incest exceptions

The House Rules Committee on Friday altered a controversial bill banning abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is threatened.

The bill, from Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), was approved by the Judiciary Committee without this language. But on Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hinted that this may change.

"There has been a lot of discussion that I have been receiving, comments, input from members, and we're looking at weighing those suggestions and inputs as to how the Rules Committee will deliberate in terms of the rule and how the bill comes to the floor," Cantor said.

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The new version of the bill, H.R. 1797, essentially says it is not lawful to perform abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, but lists several exceptions.

The first of these is when a "reasonable medical judgement" finds that the abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother who is threatened by physical harm, but not "psychological or emotional conditions."

The other is if the pregnancy is the result of rape, or the incest of a minor, if each has been reported "at any time prior to the abortion to an appropriate law enforcement agency."

The legislation is expected to be considered on the House floor Tuesday.