White House Threatens to Veto 5-Month Abortion Ban Bill

By Curtis Houck | June 19, 2013 | 10:25 AM EDT

President Barack Obama and a baby (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House has vowed to veto a House bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation with exceptions of rape and incest.

“The Administration is committed to the protection of women's health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make. If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill,” the White House said in a statement issued Monday about the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

The bill cleared the House by a vote of 228-196 Tuesday evening. It was amended to include exceptions for cases of rape and incest after an earlier version that did not include the exceptions cleared the House Judiciary Committee.

"The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1797, which would unacceptably restrict women's health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman's right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor," the statement read.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who introduced the legislation, said what has been allowed in terms of abortion in the United States is not acceptable.

"Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are," he said Thursday after the bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill's passage in the full House comes just over one month after Philadelphia abortion Dr. Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of three babies and involuntary manslaughter in the death of a woman at his clinic.

The bill has drawn fierce opposition from not only the White House but Franks' more liberal colleagues.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, said Tuesday that "House Republicans need to abandon their war on women and start working on the issues Americans care about."

"Today, instead of focusing on creating jobs and improving our economy, the House Majority is once again playing doctor and trying to tell American women what they can and can't do, despite what the Constitution tells them they can do," she said.

In response to criticism that the bill would not cover victims of rape, Franks said the following: "Pregnancies from rape that result in abortion after the beginning of the sixth month are very rare. The bill does not address unborn children in earlier gestations. Indeed, the bill does nothing to restrict abortions performed before the beginning of the sixth month."

"Forty years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed a woman's constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose. This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women's health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients' health care decisions, and the Constitution," the White House said in a statement.

"The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion,” the White House added.

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