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On Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, The New York Times announced the bill limiting abortions has failed to garner adequate support in the Senate. The House of Representatives had passed the legislation before it was presented to the upper house. A minimum of 60 votes was required to advance the new policy to the Senate floor. The overall vote was short by six ballots. If the measure becomes law, it will federally mandate pregnancy termination to be illegal 20 weeks after conception.
Abortion is a hotly debated topic in the U.S. The New York Times first reported the 20-week theory in August 2013. The bill currently before the Senate failed to garner adequate support. In line with right-to-lifers, the theory indicates a fetus feels pain at 20 weeks. Many states already have such laws in place. Nevertheless, Congress and the American public remain divided on the issue.
The 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, gave women the right to terminate the pregnancy until the fetus is viable outside the womb, approximately 24 weeks into the gestation period. Their decision was based on a consensus of the scientific community. Since then, the issues surrounding legal pregnancy termination continues to be widely debated. The bill specifying a deadline for medical removal of a fetus at 20 weeks is another attempt to undermine Roe v. Wade.
According to The New York Times, there are several bills in the Senate affecting women’s health care. The Times article included a quote from Senator Mitch McConnell, stating, “We in this chamber are never going to agree completely on the abortion question. But we should at least be able to agree that if an unborn child has reached the point where he or she can feel pain, that child’s life deserves protection.” McConnell’s statement was perhaps informed by the fetal-pain-theory. Presently, the abortion bill has failed to garner adequate support to move forward.
By Cathy Milne
Edited By Leigh Haugh
New York Times: Bill Limiting Abortion Stalls in Senate
New York Times: Theory on Pain Is Driving Rules for Abortions
Featured Photo Courtesy of Thomas Pomernigg’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License