Senate Panel Votes in Favor of ‘Fetal Pain’ Abortion Bill
A Senate committee Monday passed an abortion bill that would cut by six weeks the time women may have an elective abortion.
Commonly referred to as a “fetal pain” bill, House Bill 954 would tighten medical exemptions for terminating pregnancies and require any abortion performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy be done in a way to bring the fetus out alive. The measure says that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, therefore the state has an interest in protecting it.
The bill has been the subject of intense lobbying efforts by women’s health advocates and doctors groups, who are trying to change or defeat it.
Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee, allowed the bill to pass on a close voice vote, refusing Democratic attempts to recount the votes individually.
Supporters of the bill say it would save lives and protect fetuses.
Opponents said the bill would legislate decisions that should be made by doctors, that it would force women to carry to term fetuses that would be stillborn because of medical problems and would put doctors at risk who work with difficult pregnancies. Doctors who are involved in abortions after 20 weeks that do not meet the bill’s restrictions could be charged with a felony and face up to 10 years in prison.