By Grace Carr
The Senate failed to pass legislation Monday evening that would prevent doctors from performing abortions on women who are 20 weeks pregnant or more.
Fifty-one lawmakers voted for the measure and 47 vote against it, but the bill failed to pass the Senate requirement of 60 votes necessary for a debate on the bill.
“There’s a disconnect between science and the law,” GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said at Monday night’s hearing on the bill before the vote. “I just don’t see how this makes us a better nation,” he added.
Also known as Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the bill sought to make it illegal for a person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion after 20-weeks gestation of pregnancy. Transgressors would face fines and up to five years in prison. The legislation did include exemptions for rape victims however, but only if the woman received medical treatment or counseling at least 48 hours before the abortion.
“While we are grateful that this was brought to a vote, it is disappointing that the U.S. Senate could not pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act today,” March For Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement after the vote.
President Donald Trump also expressed his disappointment that the bill did not pass. “It is disappointing that despite support from a bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators, this bill was blocked from further consideration,” the president said in a statement. “I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish, and protect life.”
“Research shows that a woman seeking an abortion at 20 weeks (five months) is 35 times more likely to die from an abortion than she was in the first trimester,” President of Americans United For Life Catherine Glenn Foster said in a statement, noting her organization’s disappointment over the failed vote.
Planned Parenthood wrote on their website that “nearly 99 percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks.”
Seventy-six percent of Americans want significant abortion restrictions, including making abortion illegal after three months of pregnancy, a recent poll showed. More than 60 percent of Americans are also in favor of banning abortions after 20 weeks in pregnancy and six in 10 Americans oppose using tax dollars to pay for abortions.
This post has been updated to include a statement from President Donald Trump.