Legislation Would Ban Most Abortions after 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today voted in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would outlaw abortions performed after 20 weeks, or roughly five months, of pregnancy.

The legislation (HR.36), which failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to end debate and advance to final consideration by the Senate, garnered the bipartisan support of 54 Senators. Cochran is an original cosponsor of companion legislation (S.1553) introduced in the Senate in June.

“I am disappointed that the Senate has been denied the chance to consider this important bill, which is intended to protect the lives of a significant number of unborn children and has the support of the majority of Americans,” Cochran said. “It is my hope that we will be able to reconsider this measure to protect the unborn and limit the troubling occurrences of late-term abortions in this country.”

Science shows that at 20 weeks, or five months, into a pregnancy, an unborn child is capable of feeling pain. This legislation would make it illegal for any person to perform, or attempt to perform, an abortion without first making a determination of the age of the unborn child. If the age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater, an abortion would not be allowed.

In addition, the legislation would follow the long-settled exemptions for cases of rape, incest, or situations where the mother’s life is in jeopardy.

The United States is currently one of only seven countries, including China, Vietnam and North Korea, to allow for abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. According to a November 2014 Quinnipiac poll, more than 60 percent of the American people support this legislation, which passed the House of Representatives with a 242-184 vote in May.

Cochran maintains a 100 percent rating from National Right to Life, the country’s largest pro-life organization.