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house Bill H.R. 36

Should the U.S. Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks Of Pregnancy (With Exceptions)?

Argument in favor

Unborn babies can feel pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions outside of that timeframe should be outlawed to ensure the safety and well-being of unborn life.

Cassie's Opinion
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02/22/2017
This bill takes into account mother's health as well as rape and incest. I believe in the woman's right to choose, but i also believe that a line must be drawn. When a fetus can live outside the womb, it is not longer a choice, it is a child. I also believe that there needs to be more education and conversation in this country to decrease the unwanted pregnancy and abortion rate rather than doing so through regulation. Rape culture must also be addressed. I believe that there is too much time spent discussing abortion regulation and not enough time focused on the real conversations that need to be happening.
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Brandon's Opinion
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02/22/2017
Birth control is freely available to all. 1 million abortions a year is out of control.
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Lauren's Opinion
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02/22/2017
My opinion is that abortion is murder. Soon I hope that the culture sees that abortion is worse than slavery.
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Argument opposed

The male legislators who proposed this bill should not have a say on what women choose to do with their bodies. This bill tramples on women's reproductive rights.

Lora's Opinion
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02/22/2017
I am an ObGyn. The only women really getting abortions at that point in a pregnancy have just found out at their 19/20 week ultrasound that there is a severe congenital anomaly or malformation. Banning abortion for those women would be cruel. Stay out of women's reproductive choice please. In addition, if you've ever seen a child born at 22-28 weeks you know that they have extremely high morbidity and mortality, especially in the sub-24 week GA fetuses. Viability is not a set point and outcomes are not the same so please stop trying to regulate it and allow professionals with medical decision making capacity to do their jobs.
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Kristina's Opinion
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02/22/2017
The only reason people have abortions at that stage is because there are problems with either the mother's health or the fetus. Forcing women and their families to suffer because of some misguided ideas it's inhumane.
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Anne's Opinion
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02/22/2017
This is a slippery slope to banning abortion all together. Keep it legal! Keep it safe!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed October 3rd, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 237 Yea / 189 Nay
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 36?

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions after 20 weeks would be allowed if the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.

If enacted, doctors who violate the bill's requirements would face a fine, up to five years in prison, or both. A woman who receives a prohibited abortion could not be prosecuted for violating this legislation. The bill defines abortion as any medication or procedure “to intentionally kill the unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.”

Impact

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

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) sponsored this bill in the last two congresses in addition to reintroducing it in this Congress, and noted in his press release that his motivation for sponsoring this bill 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." 

The Trump administration released a statement in support of this legislation, saying that if Congress passes it in its current form President Donald Trump's advisors would recommend he sign the bill into law.

Pro-choice groups have denounced this bill as an affront to a woman's right to obtain an abortion, with Planned Parenthood tweeting that it's "unpopular" and "unconstitutional" and NARAL saying it's part of a plan by "anti-choice House Republicans" to "ban abortion outright".

This legislation has the support of 170 cosponsors in the House, including 168 Republicans and two Democrats. During the last session of Congress the House passed this bill on a 242-184 vote, but it stalled in the Senate.

Of Note: According to the Guttmacher Institute there are 24 states that impose abortion bans after a certain number of weeks, 17 of which ban abortion at about 20 weeks post-fertilization or its equivalent of 22 weeks on the grounds that the fetus can feel pain. Globally, only the U.S., Canada, North Korea, China, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Netherlands allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy according to Politifact.


Media:

(Photo Credit: Flickr user urbandon)

AKA

Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Official Title

To amend title 18, United States Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children, and for other purposes.

    This bill takes into account mother's health as well as rape and incest. I believe in the woman's right to choose, but i also believe that a line must be drawn. When a fetus can live outside the womb, it is not longer a choice, it is a child. I also believe that there needs to be more education and conversation in this country to decrease the unwanted pregnancy and abortion rate rather than doing so through regulation. Rape culture must also be addressed. I believe that there is too much time spent discussing abortion regulation and not enough time focused on the real conversations that need to be happening.
    Like (515)
    Follow
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    I am an ObGyn. The only women really getting abortions at that point in a pregnancy have just found out at their 19/20 week ultrasound that there is a severe congenital anomaly or malformation. Banning abortion for those women would be cruel. Stay out of women's reproductive choice please. In addition, if you've ever seen a child born at 22-28 weeks you know that they have extremely high morbidity and mortality, especially in the sub-24 week GA fetuses. Viability is not a set point and outcomes are not the same so please stop trying to regulate it and allow professionals with medical decision making capacity to do their jobs.
    Like (4141)
    Follow
    Share
    The only reason people have abortions at that stage is because there are problems with either the mother's health or the fetus. Forcing women and their families to suffer because of some misguided ideas it's inhumane.
    Like (1642)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a slippery slope to banning abortion all together. Keep it legal! Keep it safe!
    Like (1100)
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    Late term abortions are a highly emotional thing for all involved. This is not only cruel to the woman, who at this point probably needs the procedure for life saving reasons- but a highly inaccurate argument. The forced regulation of women's reproductive rights has to stop. It's more harmful than good.
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    This isn't for anyone but a woman and her physician to decide. Abortions are not generally taken lightly by women who acquire them, they are done with good reason, and no one should get in the way of that. You want to decrease abortions? Make contraception more easily accessible and provide better sex education.
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    People that don't like abortions shouldn't have them. That should be the end of it.
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    The few abortions that *are* performed after 20 weeks are to wanted pregnancies by parents mourning the loss of the child. To deny them the right to abortions, you are being cruel.
    Like (371)
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    Until men grow uteruses, they have no business making health decisions for women.
    Like (348)
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    People have the right to choose and 24 weeks is appropriate to find out if the baby will have major help problems. I don't see Republicans lining up to pay for these handicapped kids healthcare for life.
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    A women's right to choose should not be legislated.
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    I had an abortion at 21 weeks when I learned that my baby had an inoperable heart condition. Most women who choose to abort that far along in their pregnancy do so for medical reasons, and it's heartbreaking enough. I can't imagine having been forced by the government to carry my baby to full term only to watch him die of natural causes. Keep abortions legal at any stage; let women make the decision.
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    I honestly think that decisions this late should be left up to a woman and her doctor. It shouldn't be regulated.
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    Lawmakers who don't have uteruses should not be able to tell me how to use mine. No one "likes" abortions, but for the safety of women they need to be safe and legal. Most abortions this late in term are for medical reasons, e.g. something is very wrong with the fetus or it is a danger to the mother.
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    Women do not find out about life threatening diseases and conditions that they are carriers of until after 15 weeks or later via lab work and genetic screening. Families may be forced to choose between potential suffering of a family and child or to end the pregnancy. It takes time to have these tests done and genetic counseling also takes place after all results are in. It is not easy to decide to terminate a pregnancy if you were expecting a healthy child and are told otherwise. Thought the health/pain of the unborn child is being considered for this proposal, I think it is unwise to not consider the health/pain of a child once it is born with a devastating illness or condition. The chance to end the suffering before it begins and allow time for the necessary mental healing the family will need should be more important than forcing a mother to give birth.
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    Birth control is freely available to all. 1 million abortions a year is out of control.
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    This is a medical decision between a woman and her doctor. Period. This should not be legislated.
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    A woman's right to choose comes first.
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    NO! Stop making laws about women's bodies! This is the USA, we are not governed by the Bible!
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    Scientific consensus does not substantiate viability at 20 weeks. This is just another attempt at forcing religious views on an entire population.
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