Senate eyeing vote on 20-week abortion ban

Senate eyeing vote on 20-week abortion ban
© Getty Images
The Senate could vote this month on a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, amid a continued firestorm over Planned Parenthood funding.
 
"There's going to be a number of things,” Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynGun proposal picks up GOP support House bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Republicans jockey for position on immigration MORE (R-Texas) told reporters Thursday. “Senator McConnell's already talked about some pro-life legislation he'll be filing for cloture on at the end of next week."
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Asked whether the 20-week abortion ban would be moved, Cornyn said, "That's certainly one of them, but it's not limited to that.”
 
"There's a plan we're working on and it's in progress,” he added. 
 
Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.), said McConnell has called for the vote to come sometime this fall but hasn’t announced a schedule beyond that. 
 
A vote this month on the 20-week abortion ban billcould help divert anti-abortion energy away from a riskier government funding fight over Planned Parenthood. 
 
But Rep. Diane Black, who has introduced several defunding bills in the House, said the Senate's bill would not do enough to punish Planned Parenthood for the alleged wrongdoing.

"I think that it certainly would make people feel better... but it doesn’t take care of the possible illegalities that are taking place at Planned Parenthood – the partial birth abortions, the sale of the fetus, and altering the procedure. Those are still really big concerns that have to be addressed," Black told The Hill. 
 
McConnell has vowed he will avoid a government shutdown and said the conservative push to defund Planned Parenthood must wait until 2017 when a new president occupies the White House. 
 
The 20-week abortion ban bill has already passed the House. It was introduced in the Senate in June by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a presidential candidate. 
 
The bill is not expected to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to move forward.
 
“How many votes will it get, I don’t know,” Graham said when he introduced the bill. “Here’s what I will predict: Over time, we will win.
 
Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) slammed Republicans for taking up the issue when the Senate faces a myriad of looming deadlines. 
 
"We have some enormous challenges," he said. "It's just more wasted time. We have stuff we need to do." 
 

 Alexander Bolton contributed.