House to vote on 20-week abortion ban

House to vote on 20-week abortion ban
© Greg Nash

The House plans to vote next week on a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Tuesday that the House would vote on the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," on Oct. 3.

The bill last passed the House in 2015 but was blocked by Senate Democrats. 

"Not only will passing this legislation keep a promise we made, but all the work is for the same goal: ending suffering and helping people live," McCarthy said at a press conference. 

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksOn The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Arizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems MORE (R-Ariz.), would make it a crime to perform or attempt an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with the possibility of a fine, up to five years in prison, or both. 


There are exceptions for rape, incest or to save the life of the woman. The bill wouldn't penalize women for seeking to get abortions after 20 weeks.

The proposal will likely pass the House again, where Republicans have a large majority. 

But it will likely stumble in the Senate, where it needs at least 60 votes to pass. Republicans control 52 seats and most Democrats oppose the bill.

President Trump has said he would sign the legislation, however. 

The bill is a top priority of anti-abortion groups, which argue a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks gestation and after. 

"We want to be there for the woman, and we know we need a law to protect the children," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group based in D.C.

"We look forward to the vote next week, the vote in the Senate after and the signing from the president of the United States of America to stop this and keep us out of the company of North Korea and China as outliers of this law."

Twenty states have already passed similar legislation. 

Dannenfelser was joined by McCarthy, Budget Chairman Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackBottom line Overnight Health Care: Anti-abortion Democrats take heat from party | More states sue Purdue over opioid epidemic | 1 in 4 in poll say high costs led them to skip medical care Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee MORE (R-Tenn.), Reps. Franks, Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) at Tuesday's press conference. 

Also present was five-year-old Micah Pickering, and his mother, Danielle, who were featured in SBA List's 2016 ad "Micah." They also plan to be at the House vote next week. 

Pickering was born prematurely at 20 weeks. 

"This was Micah when he was born," Danielle said, holding up a picture of her son, adding that he was about the size of a package of M&Ms.

"This is Micah because he was able to live."

Updated 2:04 p.m.