President Obama issued a veto threat against a 20-week abortion ban, saying that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is “scientifically disputed” and undermines abortion rights.
“[T]he bill disregards women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution,” the White House veto threat says. “The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. At the same time, the Administration is committed to the protection of women’s health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make.”
Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn and other Republican women led the floor fight that resulted in the bill being passed by the House in the last Congress.
“Scientific evidence tells us that unborn babies can feel touch as soon as 8 weeks into the pregnancy; they feel pain at 20 weeks,” Blackburn said during that debate. “Indeed, some of these marvelous, marvelous fetal surgeries that are performed — they administer an anesthesia to these unborn babies.”
House Republicans debated the political prudence of taking up the pain-capable bill at this point in the new Congress after some skittish lawmakers suggested, during a GOP retreat last week, that the legislation could alienate millennial voters. That concern was put to bed during the debate, though, as other Republicans argued that millenials are more pro-life than other generations.
A National Journal poll in 2013 found that Americans support the bill 48-44, with 18-29 year olds supporting it more than any other age group.