Constitutional Law

House passes bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy

  • Print.

President Donald Trump has pledged his support for a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday that generally bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill would need 60 votes in the Senate to pass because of a likely filibuster, and if it did become law it would likely face a constitutional challenge, report the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), the Associated Press and the Washington Post.

The bill has exceptions allowing abortions after 20 weeks if necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or in cases of rape or incest. Abortion providers who violate the abortion ban could face up to five years in prison.

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, said the bill is intended to protect unborn babies, but it is also “an educational tool.” Anti-abortion groups would like to use the law to attack Roe v. Wade, Mother Jones reports.

Seventeen states have laws banning abortions after 20 weeks, but many are facing court challenges, Slate reports. Abortion-rights supporters say the laws violate Roe v. Wade, which found a constitutional right to abortions before viability.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case in 2014 involving Arizona’s 20-week abortion ban, which was blocked by lower courts.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.