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house Bill H.R. 784

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.

IAmNormaL's Opinion
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04/11/2019
I have just recently changed my view on abortion. Because of this reason. If the baby can feel pain...why is this still happening....I would hope you wouldn't kill and cut up an alive already born child?!?!? and anything after 20 weeks can feel the stress and trauma of pain and that's just not right....
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Jaymili's Opinion
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03/08/2019
Twenty weeks is halfway through the pregnancy term. As the woman gets along in her pregnancy the baby gets bigger and begins to really take form. When the fetus is removed from the womb, if a woman sees the child that she had terminated, it will take a large emotional toll on her along with the physical toll. This bill would not only protect the unborn child but also the mother. And that's something to keep in mind with this bill
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Eduardo's Opinion
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03/19/2019
There is no reason that someone should have been pregnant with a child they didn't want for anything longer than 20 weeks. And with added exceptions there shouldn't any other reason aside from emergency to abort the child.
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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.

Betsy's Opinion
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04/09/2019
No man and especially no government official including all those old white rich southern conservatives should ever have the right or the privilege to dictate to any woman what she should do with her body. A baby is born following a 40 week gestation. If it is a baby from the moment of conception it would never be 1 day old or 1 month old. It would begin life at 41 weeks old. All you conservatives who voted for this whacko should know all they want to do is control us. HANDS OFF MY BODY! Go Democrat’s 2020. GET RID OF THIS MESSED UP ADMINISTRATION. TRUMP SUCKS AND SO DOES HIS STUPID EVANGELICAL BASE. HES A PERVERT AND THEY ALLOW THAT MESSED UP BEHAVIOR JUST TO GET HIM TO BAN ABORTIONS.
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KevinRosa's Opinion
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02/22/2019
While I don't agree with abortion it is unconstitutional to have any restrictions on abortion time limits. I oppose certain forms of abortion but late-term abortions are necessary sometimes for the health of the mother and late-term fetuses aren't always viable which makes abortion inevitable.
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Marguerite's Opinion
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04/09/2019
This is an affront to women's rights. What should or should not be done with a woman's body is nobody's business but the woman and her doctor, but the decision should ultimately rest with the woman, not the government. This will do nothing but hurt people and will send our country backward. These sorts of laws don't stop abortions, they never have and never will, they'll just kill people because they can't get access to the medical procedure in safe conditions.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 24th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 784?

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.

This bill would require that physicians performing abortions only do so in manners which provide the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive. If the unborn child has the potential to survive outside the womb after the abortion procedure, the physician performing the abortion would be required to ensure that a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation is present and prepared to provide care for the child. 

If a child is born alive after an abortion attempt, this bill would require any health care practitioner present at the time to render care to the child. This bill would also require that the child be immediately transported and admitted to a hospital. 

Health care practitioners and employees of hospitals, physicians' offices, or abortion clinics would be required to report any violation of this bill's provisions to the appropriate state and/or federal law enforcement agencies.

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. 784

When this bill was introduced in the 115th Congress, the CBO estimated that it'd increase direct spending in the form of increased Medicaid coverage for additional births under the act. Depending on the number of additional births that occur under this bill, the CBO estimated costs of $65 to $335 million in the first 10 years after enactment. Using an assumption that, under the act, about three-quarters of the abortions that would occur 20 weeks or more after fertilization under current law would instead occur earlier, and the remaining one-quarter would not occur so those pregnancies would be taken to term, the CBO estimates that federal spending for Medicaid would rise by $175 million over the first 10 years after this bill's enactment.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to end abortions after 20 weeks:

“The majority of American — some 59 percent according to a recent poll — support legal protection for pain-capable unborn children. Today we know that unborn babies not only die but suffer excruciating pain during dismemberment abortion — a cruelty that rips arms and legs off a helpless child. This tragic human rights abuse must end.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) sponsored this bill in the 113th, 114th, and 115th Congresses, and noted in his press release that his motivation for sponsoring this bill was 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." 

National Right to Life supports this bill. Its legislative director, Jennifer Popik, says:

“These are very developed babies – these babies are capable of feeling pain and are considered by the medical profession to be a second patient. This legislation has saved lives, driving abortionists out of states who are performing abortions on these babies. And this legislation has the power to speak to the people of this country, highlighting, that where this bill is not law, it is legal to kill these very developed unborn children.”

National Right to Life's president, Carol Tobias, adds

“We are proud to stand with pro-life hero Congressman Smith in encouraging the U.S. House to protect pain-capable unborn children. One-fourth of premature infants now survive when born at this stage – and there is strong evidence that were a child to be aborted at that stage, they would experience great pain, as they are torn limb from limb in late abortions.”

Last Congress, 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." In the 114th Congress, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and a coalition of 15 national religious groups opposed this bill.

Last Congress, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee argued that this bill was "patently unconstitutional" because it violated a woman's right to have an aborton prior to viability, and didn't have a health exception. The House Judiciary Democrats wrote: 

"[T]he Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act bans abortions beginning at 20 weeks after fertilization. The bill has no health exception and only an extremely narrow exception for cases where a woman’s life is endangered by a physical condition.  The bill also has woefully inadequate rape and incest exceptions.  By banning pre-viability abortions, [this bill] is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade."

This bill has 129 bipartisan cosponsors, including 128 Republicans and one Democrat, in the current Congress. Last Congress, this bill passed the House by a 237-189 vote with the support of 182 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including 180 Republicans and two Democrats. In the 114th 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. Of those states, 17 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.

Whether fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks is debated. Pro-life advocates argue that they can; however, major medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, say the fetal nervous system isn't developed enough to feel pain before the third trimester.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Wanmongkhol)

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.

    I have just recently changed my view on abortion. Because of this reason. If the baby can feel pain...why is this still happening....I would hope you wouldn't kill and cut up an alive already born child?!?!? and anything after 20 weeks can feel the stress and trauma of pain and that's just not right....
    Like (5)
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    No man and especially no government official including all those old white rich southern conservatives should ever have the right or the privilege to dictate to any woman what she should do with her body. A baby is born following a 40 week gestation. If it is a baby from the moment of conception it would never be 1 day old or 1 month old. It would begin life at 41 weeks old. All you conservatives who voted for this whacko should know all they want to do is control us. HANDS OFF MY BODY! Go Democrat’s 2020. GET RID OF THIS MESSED UP ADMINISTRATION. TRUMP SUCKS AND SO DOES HIS STUPID EVANGELICAL BASE. HES A PERVERT AND THEY ALLOW THAT MESSED UP BEHAVIOR JUST TO GET HIM TO BAN ABORTIONS.
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    First of all, Republicans and Conservatives support States rights with minimal federal oversight. Secondly, being anti-abortion isn’t the same as pro-life. One can be a better parent with resources like paid family leave and healthcare. The founding fathers of this country also envisioned separation of church and state.
    Like (3)
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    This is an affront to women's rights. What should or should not be done with a woman's body is nobody's business but the woman and her doctor, but the decision should ultimately rest with the woman, not the government. This will do nothing but hurt people and will send our country backward. These sorts of laws don't stop abortions, they never have and never will, they'll just kill people because they can't get access to the medical procedure in safe conditions.
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    While I don't agree with abortion it is unconstitutional to have any restrictions on abortion time limits. I oppose certain forms of abortion but late-term abortions are necessary sometimes for the health of the mother and late-term fetuses aren't always viable which makes abortion inevitable.
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    Twenty weeks is halfway through the pregnancy term. As the woman gets along in her pregnancy the baby gets bigger and begins to really take form. When the fetus is removed from the womb, if a woman sees the child that she had terminated, it will take a large emotional toll on her along with the physical toll. This bill would not only protect the unborn child but also the mother. And that's something to keep in mind with this bill
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    No doctor is cutting up and brutally murdering fetuses. The fetus dies instantly w/ D&Es. Late term abortions are sometimes done to preserve the woman’s health or due to serious medical issues with the fetus, like congenital heart defects, which may significantly lower, or eliminate, chances of survival. If this is outlawed, women will die. We need to let the doctors do their job, stop trying to control what women do with their bodies, and uphold the constitutional separation of church and state.
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    Nobody should ever have a say as to what an individual can or cannot do with their body. My body is one of the few things I own, that I have control over... or should have control over. But the thought that the agency over my own body may possibly be taken from me is simply unconscionable. This is just another dark example that men HAVE rights and women were begrudgingly GIVEN them.
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    There is no reason that someone should have been pregnant with a child they didn't want for anything longer than 20 weeks. And with added exceptions there shouldn't any other reason aside from emergency to abort the child.
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    Women should always have control of their own bodies. ALWAYS.
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    If you wanted to get an abortion in the first place, you would've done it waaaaaaayyyyy before 20 weeks when the fetus is actually a baby at that point. But a late term abortion isn't good, it can mess things up.
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    I think we need a study to find out how abortions are for the sake of woman’s life, rape or incest. I believe we would find that most have nothing to do with any of those reasons. I do not want of my money go to pay for someone who got pregnant and just does not want the baby.
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    It’s a start to overturning Roe Vs Wade, but I don’t think it goes far enough. Abortion is murder and therefore it should be outlawed all together.
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    Why would you allow this. It is murder on a human being.
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    What value do we place on life? The other side says it is a matter of choice, so would it matter whether the baby is inside the uterus or already born. How far will this parade of death march?
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    There are plenty of anomalies and health risks that only become evident around/after the 20th week. In addition, given the obstacles created in some states to any abortions, earlier ones may cross the 20-week boundary simply as a result of the need to travel to a clinic more than once, maybe stay over one or more nights away from home (and away from job/school), listen to various nanny-state lectures from healthcare providers of dubious scientific value as legislated by some state governments...
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    20 weeks is the cut off. Safer for the woman too. Unless it becomes a medical emergencies then follow the Drs suggestion and it is still a choice of the woman.
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    This doesnt ban abortions it takes away safe one! Please listen to your people when we say WE DONT WANT TO BAN ABORTION THIS LAW WILL KILL WOMEN. this is the land of the free and as such i should have the freedom to decide what i want to do with my body.
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    Women should be able to terminate a pregnancy before the baby forms. Look at the science behind it. It isn’t even human for quite a few weeks at the beginning of the pregnancy. Late term abortion is a HUGE no no. But catching it before it turns human is not murder. You can’t kill something that isn’t alive.
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    This is a violation of our constitutional rights. Medicine is between people and their doctors. The government should stay out of it.
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