Doug Heye, deputy chief of staff to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., confirmed to Roll Call Monday that the House was target to consider the legislation that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks, the point at which some medical professionals said a fetus could begin feeling pain.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., was in the House Judiciary Committee for markup and is backed by the National Right to Life Committee.
Heye also told Roll Call that the bill would be brought to the floor under a rule designed to allow for passage on a simple majority.
The effort to proceed with the bill comes as outside groups pressure lawmakers after Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell recently was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder. Among other things, he was found to have killed infants after they had been born.
"The trial of Kermit Gosnell exposed late abortions for what they really are: relocated infanticide," Franks said recently in a statement. "I pray we use this as a 'teachable moment,' in the words of President Obama, and can agree that, at the very least, we are better than dismembering babies who can feel every excruciating moment."
Before the committee markup session, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue issued a statement saying, "Where is the House leadership? With such an important margin of women voting against the conservative's out-of-touch agenda in the last election, Speaker [John] Boehner should not be looking for more opportunities to alienate women voters."