DC Fetal Pain Ban Fails In House

A day after a federal court upheld a similar bill in Arizona, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a bill that would have banned most abortions in the 20th week of pregnancy and on in the District of Columbia.

The bill would have added the U.S. capital to the nine states that have approved laws since 2010 limiting abortions after 20 weeks. The Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights organization, estimates that 1.5 percent of abortions take place after 21 weeks of pregnancy.

Despite wide support among Republican lawmakers, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act failed by a 220-154 vote.  The House suspended its usual rules for the vote, meaning that a two-thirds majority of those present was needed to pass.

The science supporting these kinds of measures is not really science at all, but that hasn’t stopped Republican lawmakers from pushing fetal pain bans. It also hasn’t stopped federal courts from accepting the faulty science and codifying it into law.

Related Stories:

DC Abortion Ban To Go To House For Vote

DC Rep Can’t Testify At Hearing Over DC Abortion Ban

Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr.


pam w.
pam w4 years ago

Aludra "Why are we focusing on these personal issues when we are on the verge of poisoning our planet to the point where it can no longer sustain life at all."

++++++++++++ I'm going to assume this is an honest question and that you are not a pro-GOP TROLL.

First, we can focus on more than one problem at a time. Republicans are throwing up these anti-woman, anti-personal liberties proposals to get us to believe it's actually important! THEY ARE SMOKESCREENS.

Secondly, they are smokescreens but they are extremely dangerous because they threaten our individual liberties.

Thirdly, if you ignore these issues, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO CHOICE Now, perhaps you're a person who would never choose to make your own reproductive decisions. Maybe you'd enjoy having the government tell you what/how to do with your reproductive life.

Or maybe not.

Certainly, many things are wrong in this world and they deserve our attention. But holding on to our personal liberties ranks right up there at the top of my list---and SHOULD occupy your attention, as well. Unless we're as stupid as the GOP assumes us to be!

Eden Wilber
Eden Wilber4 years ago

I just changed my name on here because I realized I hadn't since I got married. Sorry if that's confusing. Eden Wilber used to be Eden Lewis

Eden L.
Eden Wilber4 years ago

Sophia, I'm not trying to make a scientific argument, sorry if I don't know all the terms. To me 5 months seems late term, and I don't see a difference between an unborn baby and a born one. When do they become human? Is it when they first breath air? Or when someone decides they want them? I'm not trying to be passive-aggressive, I really do want to know when you think life begins, because I don't understand. I don't understand how a baby is human and worth something when you can see it, but not while it's growing in what should be a safe secret home for them. I want you to understand that I am not coming from a place of hate. I have deep compassion for these babies. It breaks my heart to think of their lives being stolen, please know that that's where I'm coming from. How can you be sure these babies can't feel pain or emotions? I noticed you mentioned me revealing my true nature. What do you mean by that? What are you assuming about me and why? I'd like to know just so I can work towards being more kind in my interactions. Sophia is a very pretty name by the way!

Sophia Haythornthwaite

Plus, mid-term (aka 2nd trimester) abortions (what this article is talking about) are done almost always because of fetal defects that are discovered during ultrasounds which are done in the 2nd trimester. To promote that women should be forced to bring children with serious problems into the world is despicably anti-life. I know that you wouldn't care about how hard it would be for the parent(s) to raise a child with severe disabilities (health care costs, children requiring constant attention, etc) but then for the child, almost all disabilities carrying a severely shortened lifespan and greatly reduced quality of life. Late-term (3rd trimester) abortions are only allowed when the pregnancy puts the woman's life at risk. But seeing as life begins at conception and ends at birth, of course the life of the fetus is more important than the life of the woman.

Sophia Haythornthwaite

Eden L: Late-term abortion refers to abortions done in the 3rd trimester, which starts towards the end of the 6th month. I know that you anti-abortion people aren't too big on facts (seeing as there is no scientific evidence to support the "pro-life" argument), but making blatant errors - whether intentionally or not - like calling 5th month abortions "late-term" makes you look uninformed and dishonest. It's bad for your argument if you reveal your true nature.

Considering that fetuses/embryos/zygotes don't have any of the characteristics that define humans as humans like the ability to feel physical sensation/pain, experience emotions and have conscious/sub-conscious thoughts, it's nothing short of illogical to believe that a fetus/embryo/zygote is a person.

Eden L.
Eden Wilber4 years ago

Thank you Heather R, for your boldness and willingness to stand up for these precious little ones who have no voice. I am shocked by this article. It seems to me that even people who believe the lie that an unborn baby is not a human until a certain point would have a problem with late-term abortions! How can you possibly say a baby is not a baby after 5 months in the womb? It's definitely, beyond any doubt or speculation, not "just cells" at that point.

Amanda M.
Amanda M4 years ago

Nice to see the DC lawmakers recognizing science over religion and recognizing the rights of women to abort a doomed pregnancy where the fetus will have no quality of life whatsoever, if it even survives to term.

Rae T, the main reason women have abortions that late in the pregnancy is due to genetic or physical deformities or defects that are discovered during routine prenatal testing in the second trimester. It's not a case of women simply "waiting too long" to decide to abort, it's a case of taking a humane approach to a pregnancy where there are conditions that are INCOMPATIBLE WITH LIFE, such as anencephaly, Trisomy 18, triploidy, Tay-Sachs, etc. It's far more humane to end such a pregnancy early than to force a woman to carry it to term and have the fetus be doomed to either die during delivery (if it even survives that long) or suffer a short, painful existence. Quality of life should trump quantity of life, especially with over seven billion people on the planet already.

Aludra N.
susan m4 years ago

This country and the whole world has a lot more serious things to worry about than abortion rights or gay marriage. Why are we focusing on these personal issues when we are on the verge of poisoning our planet to the point where it can no longer sustain life at all.

The bankers are ruining the world economics, literally stealing peoples money and not one of them has been charged with a crime.

Natural resources already are strained to the breaking point, what good will any laws do if you cannot breathe the air or drink the water. Considering the overpopulation issue, women should be rewarded for getting an abortion, it serves the greater good. Unless we wake up very soon, all social issues will be moot. Humanity for the most part is a greedy, stupid species on the fast track towards extinction, and no one seems to notice.

Frances C.
Frances C4 years ago

Pam, Michael T., and Heidi, Ditto to your comments. My thoughts exactly. We must vote these tea party fanatics out before we wake up one day wondering where our long fought for rights went. Once they put their draconian laws on the books it is very hard to undo them.

Obama + Biden 2012

pam w.
pam w4 years ago

Heather, you're living in some kind of dream bubble rainbow world where a group of cells has the same civil rights as an adult woman!

Obviously, you've been brainwashed by religious fundamentalists who think this country should be run on tenets of a small group of Christians...not even ALL Christians....just SOME of them.

NEWS FLASH.....this is NOT a theocracy and YOU don't get to dictate to me about my reproductive choices.

Who in BLAZES gave you the "right" to even think you could DO that?