Senate Democrats Block 20-Week Abortion Pain Bill

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would ban abortions in the United States past the fifth month of pregnancy.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based on scientific evidence that has shown that unborn babies at least at 20 weeks after fertilization can feel the pain associated with being destroyed during an abortion.

As the Associated Press reports, Senators voted 54-42 on Tuesday to advance the legislation, a count that fell short of the 60 votes needed. Sens. Bob Casey (PA), Joe Donnelly (IN), and Joe Manchin (WV) were the only Democrats voting to move ahead with the measure. Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Mark Kirk (IL) were the only Republicans to vote against the bill.

“We in this chamber are never going to agree completely on the abortion question,” McConnell said. “But we should at least be able to agree that if an unborn child has reached the point where he or she can feel pain, that child’s life deserves protection.”

Democrats said the vote served only to allow Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to appease conservatives.

Tuesday’s showdown is “yet another show vote designed to honor the political wish list of extremists,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

The United States is one of just seven countries allowing abortions after 20 weeks.