More News:

April 04, 2016

Pennsylvania bill to limit abortions passes committee

Legislation would ban abortions after 20 weeks

A bill in the Pennsylvania legislature that would impose stricter limits on abortion has taken another step forward.

House Bill 1948 would prohibit abortions after the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy, with exceptions to medical emergencies. It passed the House Health committee Monday.

According to the Associated Press, that would change the current law that bars abortions after the first 24 weeks.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to veto the bill.

Wolf's press secretary Jeff Sheridan called the bill "wrong," adding, "This legislation is an attack on a woman’s right to make her own health decisions, and it goes so far as to prohibit a woman’s right to have an abortion, even in the case of rape or incest."

The bill would also ban abortions by dilation and evacuation, a technique that extracts the fetus with tools and tears apart the bodies but is also often the safest for the mother after the first trimester, according to PennLive.

The technique would be renamed "dismemberment abortion" and only be allowed when the mother faces otherwise serious health risks, the website reports.

State Rep. Kathy Rapp, the bill's main sponsor, told PennLive the procedure is wrong, noting new technology that helps keep premature babies alive before 24 weeks and stories of doctors administering anesthesia to fetuses before in-womb procedures because they can feel pain. Per PennLive:

"At twenty weeks gestation, there is no denying it's a child," Rapp, chair of the General Assembly's Pro-Life caucus, said Friday. "And we are trying to be the voice of that unborn child."

The bill now goes to the floor of the House, where it has 101 co-sponsors — 11 democrats among them — in an assembly of 203 representatives, according to AP.