Obama threatens to veto GOP abortion ban

The White House threatened to veto a GOP ban on late-term abortions that is expected to pass the House on Tuesday.

In a Statement of Administration Policy, President Obama said the bill from Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) is an "assault on a woman's right to choose."

"Forty years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed a woman's constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose," the statement read.

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"This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women's health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients' health care decisions, and the Constitution."

The statement was issued Monday night and warned that Obama would veto the legislation if it came to his desk. Given that Democrats control the Senate, it is unlikely the measure will pass Congress.

Franks's bill would ban most abortions in the United States after 22 weeks of pregnancy on the disputed premise that fetuses can feel pain at that stage of development. A handful of similar statewide bans have been challenged in court.

An original version of the GOP bill would have banned late-term procedures only in the District of Columbia, repeating language from Franks that failed to pass the House last year on a two-thirds vote.

The ban was modified to apply nationwide in response to outcry over the grisly trial of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of murdering several infants born alive after failed terminations.

Opponents of abortion rights argue that there is no moral difference between a late-term abortion and an infant's murder.

"This bill is the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before the House since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, in a statement Monday.

"Any lawmaker who votes to allow unlimited abortion in the sixth month or later is voting to encourage a continuation of the horrors associated with the likes of Kermit Gosnell."

Franks's ban advanced to the floor with only one exception — for women whose lives are in danger. But on Friday, it was altered by the Rules Committee to allow abortions for rape and incest victims who report the crimes against them. 

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