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Senate Fails to Advance Abortion Legislation

On September 22, the Senate rejected, by a vote of 54-42, a motion to end debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). The procedural vote, also known as cloture, requires at least 60 votes to advance the bill to a final vote. The House approved the measure on May 13 (see The Source, 9/23/15).

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), would prohibit abortions at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother. The legislation would require physicians to determine the age of the fetus by relying on another physician’s determination, performing medically reasonable tests and exams, and making inquiries of the pregnant woman.

Among other provisions, the measure requires the physician to ensure that adult rape victims receive medical treatment or counseling for any injuries associated with the rape at least 48 hours before the procedure. This requirement would not apply if the rape already has been reported to law enforcement personnel. In cases of rape or incest of a minor, the crime must be reported to child protective services or law enforcement before the abortion.

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