The Trump administration said on Tuesday that it is supporting a bill introduced in the House that bans most abortions after 20 weeks.
The bill, named the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” was introduced by Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), and will be voted on by the House on Oct. 3.
The bill states that “there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier.”
“It is the purpose of the Congress to assert a compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain,” the bill reads.
The bill makes exceptions for medical cases where an abortion is needed to save the life of a pregnant woman. It also makes an exception for women who were raped and cases of incest.
If signed into law, women could be fined and or imprisoned for a maximum of five years if they have an unauthorized abortion after 20 weeks.
“The Administration strongly supports H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and applauds the House of Representatives for continuing its efforts to secure critical pro-life protections,” says the Office of Management and Budget in a statement of administration policy.
The statement said that the bill takes a science-based approach to unborn life “as recent advancements have revealed that the physical structures necessary to experience pain are developed within 20 weeks of fertilization.”
President Trump already supported stricter regulation on abortion during his campaign.
In a September 2016 letter to pro-life supporters, Trump wrote that he would sign the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act into law if he were elected president.
The bill was passed in the House in 2015, but was blocked by Democrats in the Senate.
In his 2016 letter, Trump also said that he would nominate pro-life judges to the Supreme Court, defund Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to conduct abortions, and make the Hyde Amendment permanent law.
“The bill, if enacted into law, would help to facilitate the culture of life to which our Nation aspires,” reads the statement by the Office of Management and Budget.
The United States is currently one out of only 7 countries that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks according to the statement.
“America’s children deserve the stronger protections that H.R. 36 would advance,” it says.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said that he is supporting the bill and hopes the House and Senate will pass it.
“All decent and humane people are repulsed by the callous and barbarous treatment of women and children in clinics … that abort children after 20 weeks,” said Dolan, who serves as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities
“While there are divergent views on the practice of abortion … it is widely recognized from public opinion polls that a strong majority of the public is consistently opposed to late-term abortions,” Dolan said.
Dolan said he hoped the issue of late-term abortions would help to unite the pro-life and pro-choice camps.