Republicans abandon late-term abortion bill after party dissension

by Staff, |
A pro-life supporter celebrates the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling striking down a Massachusetts law that mandated a protective buffer zone around abortion clinics, outside the Court in Washington June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – Congressional Republicans abandoned a late-term abortion bill Wednesday after intraparty debate regarding the details of the legislation and some Representatives claims that women voters would feel alienated. The bill would have outlawed abortions after 20 weeks, when fetuses can reportedly feel pain – a practice that occurs 10,000 times a year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz), one of main sponsors of the bill, said the legislation would protect women and "their unborn, pain-capable child from the atrocity of late-term abortion." Those performing the procedures could be fined or face up to five years in prison. The bill would have offered exceptions for women who were victims of rape or incest and reported the incident to the police.

However, some Republicans and female members of Congress felt that women should not feel pressured to report their rape to authorities and would not vote in favor. Only 35 percent of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to police, a 2013 Justice Department study found.

"The issue becomes, we're questioning the woman's word," Rep. Renee Elmers (R-N.C.) said. "We have to be compassionate to women when they're in a crisis situation."

Congressional Democrats were strongly against the bill, and the White House threatened to veto the legislation, calling it "an assault on a woman's right to choose."

Some have called into question the motives of party objectors, asking why they took so long to come forward with their issues.

"We've been working on this for two years. Where were they?" a source knowledgeable of the process told Fox News.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins also said that Americans would be disappointed in Washington's lack of morality concerning the right to life.

"Americans have been forced to violate their conscience and religious convictions long enough by being made to fund President Obama's massive abortion scheme," he said in a statement.

Instead of the 20-week abortion bill, the GOP will vote Thursday to ban the use of tax dollars for abortions. The ban on federal money for the use of abortions is already in practice, and is an amendment that Congress renews annually. The symbolic act coincides with the pro-life March for Life in Washington and 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.