Earlier this year, a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks (the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act) passed the House of Representatives, 242 to 184. The bill has moved on to the Senate, and could see a vote as early as this month.
Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said McConnell has called for the vote to come sometime this fall, but hasn’t announced a specific date.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), who introduced the bill in the Senate, displayed a positive attitude and determination in his statement about the bill, saying, “How many votes will it get? I don’t know. Here’s what I will predict: Over time, we will win.”
Meanwhile, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) criticized Republicans for focusing on abortion. “We have some enormous challenges,” he said. “It’s just more wasted time. We have stuff we need to do.”
The White House has already issued a statement threatening to veto the bill, should it pass the Senate:
The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 36 [Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act], which would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor….
If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.
But pro-life Congressional leaders do not seem to fear the President’s veto as much as the White House may like. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed pro-life legislation plans for this fall, indicating plans to move forward with several pieces of legislation. Asked specifically about the 20 week abortion ban, Cornyn said, “That’s certainly one of them, but it’s not limited to that. There’s a plan we’re working on and it’s in progress.”