Las Vegas Sun

January 19, 2018

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In partisan vote, House opts for new abortion limits

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to ban abortions after 20 weeks, with the Nevada delegation split down the party line.

Nevada Reps. Joe Heck and Mark Amodei voted for the bill, which would shorten the term in which a woman may decide to terminate her pregnancy from the “viable” standard defined by the Supreme Court in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Viability of a fetus is usually estimated to be around 24 weeks.

Nevada Reps. Dina Titus and Steven Horsford voted against it.

The total vote was 228 to 196.

The bill was championed by Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, who hailed the first-ever “affirmative protection … to unborn children” to be passed by either house of Congress.

“It is my prayer that today also marks a day when America finally opens her eyes to the humanity of these little victims and the inhumanity of what is being done to them,” Franks said in a statement following passage of the bill.

But Democrats railed against what they said was simply the latest episode of a “war on women” they charge Republicans have been waging for years now.

“The bill is not only a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, but it’s a dangerous new attack on women’s reproductive rights,” Titus said on the House floor prior to the vote. “The proposed ban does not include an exception for the physical or emotional health of the woman; it fails to provide sufficient protections for victims of rape and incest; and it has a very narrow exception in cases when a woman’s life is in danger.”

The bill was initially presented without any exceptions for the victims of rape or incest. But after Franks commented during a markup that the number of rapes resulting in pregnancy are “very low” — a comment reminiscent of former Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remarks during the Missouri’s 2012 Senate race — the bill was amended to reflect an exception for victims of rape and minors who are the victims of incest, provided the rape or incest is reported to the authorities before the abortion takes place.

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