20-Week Abortion Ban Comes (Back) to the U.S. Senate

By Dustin Siggins Published on October 17, 2017

If the third time’s the charm, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) might get his wish on a late-term abortion ban he reintroduced on October 5.

Graham first introduced The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2014, and again two years ago. The bill’s House version was nearly stopped in 2015 after several female GOP Members opposed a requirement for rape victims to file a claim with police before getting an abortion. The bill passed the House months later, after the provision was eliminated. One provision was added requiring a woman who says she is raped to obtain medical attention and counseling 48 hours prior to any abortion.

Graham ran for President in 2015 on a pro-life platform. In early 2016, he attacked fellow candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for not supporting a rape exception for abortion laws.

Passed in House

The House passed the ban earlier this month, days after President Donald Trump’s administration published a memo of support. The bill has been estimated to address as many as 18,000 abortions that take place at or after 20 weeks’ gestation. That is the period at which science has proven that unborn children feel pain.

One group that worked closely with Graham on the bill is the Susan B. Anthony List. Communications Director Mallorie Quigley told The Stream at last week’s Values Voters Summit that she was “encouraged” by Trump’s Summit speech upholding pro-life and religious liberty principles.

In an e-mail shortly before the Summit, Quigley said that “signing this legislation was one of the 4 pro-life promises that President Trump made when running for office.” She described the memo as “another strong statement of support.”

A Challenge in the Senate

Quigley said getting the bill through the U.S. Senate could be challenging. “It is critical that we put pressure on every Senator, especially vulnerable Democrats who are up for re-election in 2018 in states where the President won and where this bill is incredibly popular.” Quigley said that 20 states have passed their own versions of the ban. It “challenges a major premise of Roe by asserting the humanity of the unborn child and that, like any other member of the human family, they can feel pain and ought to be protected from that pain.”

Quigley wasn’t alone in urging the Senate and Trump to make the bill law. Family Research Council’s (FRC) Arina Grossu told The Stream by e-mail that “we are encouraging the U.S. Senate to take up” the ban.

“President Trump promised to sign the ban, so let’s get the job done,” said Grossu.

A new poll released by SBA List shows majority support for the bill and the administration’s partial rollback of the Affordable Care Act’s “HHS mandate.” Non-profit groups are now exempt from the law, which still applies to some corporations. “President Trump delivered a major victory for conscience rights and religious liberty in America in issuing the two interim final rules on the … mandate,” said Quigley. She said that “there is more to be done for life and religious freedoms.”

Grossu’s group hosts the Values Voters Summit. She said that FRC “is hopeful that Congress will take up the Conscience Protection Act and the unborn child tax credit this year.”

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