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U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, Republicans pass ban on most late-term abortions
Senate introduces a similar bill
Doug _Collins
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins

A ban on most late-term abortions, those after 20 weeks, cleared the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday with the support of Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, and eight other Georgia Republicans.

The bill is supported by the White House but is likely to stall in the Senate, where Republicans need 60 votes to pass the bill but only control 52 seats.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed 237-189, largely along party lines. Republicans control 240 seats in the House, and Democrats hold 194.

Speaking on the House floor Tuesday, Collins referred to his own experience as a father being told that he and his wife should abort the pregnancy of their now-25-year-old daughter, Jordan, who was diagnosed with a form of spina bifida while still in the womb.

“Over 25 years ago someone told me (and my wife) she was not worth having,” Collins said in the House.

Pro-abortion rights advocates criticized the bill and Republicans after it cleared the House. NARAL Georgia Director Laura Simmons took particular aim at newly elected Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, who won a close race in Georgia’s 6th District and is up for re-election in 2018.

“Of all the things Republican leaders should be focusing on, including tragedies in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico, they have instead decided to make attacking women’s rights their top priority,” Simmons said in an announcement on Tuesday. “Rep. Handel and the out-of-touch GOP sold out Georgia women and voted to take away our rights.”

The bill passed on Tuesday allows abortion in the case of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother.

Collins was one of many Republican co-sponsors of the 20-week ban, which has long been a goal of pro-life politicians. The timeframe of the ban is based on research that shows children begin to feel pain at 20 weeks, or about five months, into the pregnancy.

“When modern medicine leads doctors to administer anesthesia to children at 20 weeks’ gestation, basic integrity gives us no way to ignore their personhood,” Collins said in an announcement after the bill cleared the House. “Science leaves us no room to justify their slaughter, and our Founding Fathers leave us no path to disregard their right to life.”

A version of the bill was announced in the Senate on Wednesday by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and other pro-life senators, though there’s little chance of the bill’s passage despite support from President Donald Trump.

Both of Georgia’s senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, are co-sponsors of the Senate bill and have supported similar bills in the past. The most recent vote was taken 2016.

“We have a moral obligation to protect unborn life, and it is unconscionable that federal law currently permits unborn babies to feel such unimaginable pain,” Perdue said in 2016. “It is likewise reprehensible that we would even have to require doctors to save every newborn’s life.”

The two senators were also two of 38 co-sponsors that would require doctors to save the lives of children born alive after an abortion.

The bill approved on Tuesday would make it illegal to perform or attempt an abortion after 20 weeks except for in exempted cases, but wouldn’t make it a crime for women to seek an abortion after 20 weeks.