WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved amended legislation banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The bill was approved by a vote of 242-184, largely along party lines.
The "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" was pulled in January after some Republicans objected to language requiring women to have a police report to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks in cases of rape.
Before passing the bill, this language was removed and replaced with an amendment requiring a woman who is raped to receive medical attention and counseling 48 hours before she can receive an abortion.
Democrats opposing the bill called it extreme and said the measure was backed by Republicans for political reasons, not medical. Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for health and reproductive rights for the National Women's Law Center, agreed.
"Once again, some Members of Congress think politics -- not medical expertise or a woman's health -- should drive important health care decisions," she said. "Passing an unconstitutional nationwide ban on later abortions does nothing to help women -- instead, it threatens their health and lives and interferes in their personal medical decisions. It is long past time for politicians to stop meddling with women's health -- our lives are not up for debate."
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who introduced the legislation, said it is meant to protect women and unborn babies.
"No matter how it is shouted down, or what distortions, deceptive what-ifs, distractions, diversions, gotchas, twisting of words, changing the subject or blatant falsehoods the abortion industry hurls at this bill and its supporters, this bill is a deeply sincere effort, beginning at their sixth month of pregnancy, to protect both mothers and their pain-capable unborn babies from the atrocity of late-term abortion on demand," he said.
Even if the Senate also passes the bill, President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign it into law. He said he would veto the legislation in January.