**Image credit – Getty Images (Telegraph)**
Back during the beginning of January, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced a bill into the House known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
Accordingly, “this bill amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.”
The abortion ban in this bill came with two exceptions: “(1) [abortions that are] necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or (2) when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.”
Additionally, this bill did not permit the prosecution of women who got prohibited abortions, but instead, as stated above, sought to criminalize performing or attempting to perform them.
Proponents of the bill substantiated their support by citing certain “scientific evidence showing that fetuses have the capacity to feel pain beginning at 20-weeks’ gestation.” However, those who fought against the bill responded that it “imposed an arbitrary cut-off point and [that it] would be dangerous, arguing that the vast majority of abortions happen well before 20 weeks of pregnancy.”
Last October, the bill was passed by a vote of 237 to 189 in the House. If passed by the Senate, the bill was expected to be signed into law, as “during the 2016 election, Trump said he would sign a 20-week abortion ban if it made it to his desk.”
However, last night, the bill was blocked from advancing by a vote of 51 to 46 in the Senate. The bill reportedly did not even make it out of debate. The Democrats successfully filibustered the matter, as the Republicans were unable to garner the 60 votes needed to bring the bill to a final floor vote.
The 51 to 46 tally obviously did not fall strictly along party lines. Two Republicans – Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) – voted with Democrats in favoring abortion protections and voting against this bill. Three Democrats – Joe Manchin (West Virginia), Bob Casey Jr. (Pennsylvania), and Joe Donnelly (Indiana) – split from their party’s line and voted in favor of this bill with Republicans.
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