While literally hundreds of bills pile up on Moscow Mitch’s desk, Moscow Mitch decides it’s time to take up two abortion bills.
The first bill, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would ban abortion at 20 weeks based on the scientifically disputed notion that a fetus can feel pain at that point in development. The measure, sponsored by South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, would clash with the 24-week threshold established by Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalized abortion nationwide prior to viability.
The bill failed 53-44, with Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia voting in support of the measure and Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska opposing it.
The second bill, was the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sponsored by Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, that would require abortion providers to work to “preserve the life and health” of a fetus that was born following an attempted abortion as they would for a newborn baby, or face up to five years in prison. Opponents have argued that such measures restrict abortion access by threatening health care providers.
Only three Democrats broke rank on the second bill, with Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones joining Casey and Manchin to vote for the bill for a final tally of 56-41.