What is House Bill H.R. 36?
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The law cites congressional findings about the development of the fetus. It makes exceptions for abortions if the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.
If enacted, anyone who violates the bill could face a fine, up to five years in prison, or both. The bill defines abortion as any medication or procedure “to intentionally kill the unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant”.
UPDATE: 5/13/2015: After pulling this bill from a vote at the start of the 114th Congress, House Republicans are bringing it back for consideration. With some changes to the legislation, namely around survivors of sexual assault, sponsors are feeling more confident. As Think Progress explains:
"The amended version of the bill does not require rape victims to report their assaults to the authorities. That change technically eliminates the sticking point that thwarted the legislation at the beginning of the year... As the bill is currently written, rape survivors may only circumvent the ban on post-20-week abortions if they sought counseling or medical care within 48 hours of the procedure. If they visited an abortion clinic for either of those services, it doesn’t count."
Pregnant women in the U.S., pro and anti-abortion activist groups, healthcare providers that offer abortions, hospitals that offer prenatal care, and Medicare.
Cost of House Bill H.R. 36
Keeping in mind the additional fees that come with delivering more babies that otherwise would have been aborted, and the extra costs of abortions that are performed before the 20 week limit — the CBO estimates that H.R. 36 would increase federal budget deficits by $75 million over the 2015-2020 period and $235 million over the 2015-2025 period.
H.R. 36 was introduced in the 113th Congress as H.R.1797, where it was approved in House in June 2013. The 20-week abortion ban this act hopes to accomplish would directly challenge the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade
decision that protects a woman's right to abort a pregnancy around 22 to 24 weeks.
The Obama administration has already threatened to veto
this bill if it ever makes it passed both chambers to the President's desk. In a White House statement, the administration noted that it:
"strongly opposes H.R. 36, which would unacceptably restrict women's health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman's right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor."
Sponsoring Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) has noted in his press releases, and in the actual title of the bill, that his motivation for sponsoring H.R. 36 is to end pain for unborn babies:
"More than 18,000 'very late term' abortions are performed every year on perfectly healthy unborn babies in America. These are innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain, but who can survive outside of the womb in most cases, and who are torturously killed without even basic anesthesia."
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
To amend title 18, United States Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children, and for other purposes.