Trump administration pushes for a 20-week abortion ban

House Republicans want to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks, and President Trump is on board with it

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 3, 2017 1:36PM (EDT)

 (Getty/Tim Sloan)
(Getty/Tim Sloan)

President Donald Trump is supporting a House bill that would outlaw abortions performed 20 weeks or more after conception.

"The administration strongly supports H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and applauds the House of Representatives for continuing its efforts to secure critical pro-life protections," the White House said in a statement of policy released on Monday.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which was also pushed by the House in 2013 and 2015, would criminalize abortion procedures held after the 20 week mark. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., praised the bill on the grounds that it "will respect the sanctity of life and stop needless suffering."

Although the bill is expected to come to a vote in the House, it is less likely to do so in the Senate, where even a staunch abortion opponent like Sen. John Cornyn of Texas admitted that passing the bill is "not a near-term priority."

Trump has made even more extreme statements about banning abortions in the past. In March 2016, the then-candidate told Chris Matthews that if abortion were outlawed, "there has to be some form of punishment" for the women who undergo the procedure. Trump later released a statement that reversed his earlier position, claiming that "the woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb" and that he would advocate for abortion providers to be legally responsible rather than recipients.

Even as the national Republican Party moved to limit abortion rights, one Republican politician proved an exception to the rule. Last week, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law that allows the state's insurance programs, including Medicaid, to cover abortion procedures.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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