partlycloudy
Wednesday September 2nd, 2015 5:53PM

House passes far-reaching anti-abortion bill

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-led House on Tuesday passed a far-reaching anti-abortion bill that conservatives saw as a milestone in their 40-year campaign against legalized abortion and Democrats characterized as yet another example of a GOP war on women.

The legislation, sparked by the murder conviction of a Philadelphia late-term abortion provider, would restrict almost all abortions to the first 20 weeks after conception, defying laws in most states that allow abortions up to when the fetus becomes viable, usually considered to be around 24 weeks.

It mirrors 20-week abortion ban laws passed by some states, and lays further groundwork for the ongoing legal battle that abortion foes hope will eventually result in forcing the Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal.

It passed 228-196, with six Democrats voting for it and six Republicans voting against it.

In the short term, the bill will go nowhere. The Democratic-controlled Senate will ignore it and the White House says the president would veto it if it ever reached his desk. The White House said the measure was "an assault on a woman's right to choose" and "a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade."

But it was a banner day for social conservatives who have generally seen their priorities overshadowed by economic and budgetary issues since Republicans recaptured the House in 2010.

Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, called it "the most important pro-life bill to be considered by the U.S. Congress in the last 10 years."

Marjorie Dannenfeiser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List - a group that seeks to eliminate abortion - said the legislation differed significantly from past abortion measures in that it restricts, rather than merely controls, the abortion procedure.

Democrats chided Republicans for taking up a dead-end abortion bill when Congress is doing little to promote jobs and economic growth. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called it "yet another Republican attempt to endanger women. It is disrespectful to women. It is unsafe for families and it is unconstitutional."

Democrats also said the decision by GOP leaders to appease their restless base with the abortion vote could backfire on Republican efforts to improve their standing among women.

"They are going down the same road that helped women elect Barack Obama president of the United States," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's delegate to the House. The bill is so egregious to women, said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., that women are reminded that "the last possible thing they ever want to do is leave their health policy to these men in blue suits and red ties."

Democrats repeatedly pointed out that all 23 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee that approved the measure last week on a party-line vote are men.

Republicans countered by assigning women to conspicuous roles in managing the bill on the House floor and presiding over the chamber. Republican women were prominent among those speaking in favor of the legislation.

The bill, said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who was assigned to manage the bill despite not being on the Judiciary Committee, would "send the clearest possible message to the American people that we do not support more Gosnell-like abortions."

The Republican leadership gave the green light to the abortion bill after social conservatives coalesced around the case of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor who was recently sentenced to life in prison for what prosecutors said was the murder of three babies delivered alive. Abortion foes said it exemplified the inhumanity of late-term abortions.

"After this Kermit Gosnell trial, (and) some of the horrific acts that were going on, the vast majority of the American people believe in the substance of this bill, and so do I," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Absent from the debate was the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who last week sparked a controversy by saying that rape resulted in few pregnancies.

After Franks' remark, which he later modified, Republicans quietly altered the bill to include an exception to the 20-week ban for instances of rape and incest. Democrats still balked, saying the exception would require a woman to prove that she had reported the rape to authorities.

The bill has an exception when a physical condition threatens the life of the mother, but Democratic efforts to include other health exceptions were rebuffed.

The legislation would ban abortions that take place 20 weeks after conception, which is equivalent to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Some 10 states have passed laws similar to the House bill, and several are facing court challenges. Last month a federal court struck down as unconstitutional Arizona's law, which differs slightly in banning abortion 20 weeks after pregnancy rather than conception.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based reproductive health research organization that supports abortion rights, in 2009, 1.3 percent of the 1.2 million abortions in the country, about 15,600, occurred 20 weeks after the fetus was conceived.

Supporters of the legislation also contended that fetuses can feel pain after about 20 weeks, and the bill cites extensively from studies agreeing with that conclusion. Opponents say such findings are inconclusive.

Pro-choice groups argued that the 20-week ban, in addition to being unconstitutional, would affect women just at the point of learning of a fetal anomaly or determining that the pregnancy could put the mother's life in danger.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
NSA reportedly intercepts computer deliveries
A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's bug report system to spy on their targets.
12:31PM ( 1 year ago )
Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries.
12:26PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
The Latest: Kentucky clerk says she is unable to obey judge's order to issue marriage licenses
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The latest on a county clerk in Kentucky who has repeatedly refused to issue marriage licenses (all times local):4:54 p.m.A Kentucky county clerk says she is unable to obey a fed...
5:03PM ( 50 minutes ago )
Watchdog: 900,000 veterans have pending health care requests; many of those may be deceased
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 900,000 military veterans have officially pending applications for health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the department's inspector general said Wednesday, but...
4:59PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Obama seals legacy-defining Iran deal as Senate Dems gather 34 votes to stymie GOP resolution
WASHINGTON (AP) — Overcoming ferocious opposition, President Barack Obama secured a legacy-defining foreign policy victory Wednesday as Senate Democrats clinched the necessary votes to ensure the Iran...
4:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
US stocks rebound a day after plunging; Dow up 293 at close
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are closing broadly higher as the market bounces back from a plunge the day before.
4:36PM ( 1 hour ago )
Evacuations orders lifted around Oregon wildfire that has destroyed 43 homes
JOHN DAY, Ore. (AP) — Firefighters battling a destructive wildfire near John Day are allowing people who have been evacuated for weeks to return to their homes.The last evacuation alerts were lifted W...
3:29PM ( 2 hours ago )