A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would ban abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation and all abortion procedures in which the fetus is dismembered.
Because medical science has determined a fetus can feel stimulation in the womb after 20 weeks and especially pain, western Pa. Republican Rep. Kathy Rapp introduced House Bill 1948 on March 31 to amend the Abortion Control Act and ban such abortions.
Cosponsoring with Rapp are 100 Democratic and Republican members of the House.
“Dismemberment abortions,” she wrote in a memo accompanying the bill, “occur when a baby’s life is terminated by removing their limbs. As the baby is capable of feeling pain at these gestational ages, it is unconscionable for us to continue to allow them.
“This legislation is focused on protecting the unborn child from pain and the mother from additional complications.”
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference said in a statement that the mother bears increased health risks of complications including infection and laceration from such a late-term abortion after 20 weeks.
Currently dismemberment abortions are allowed in the state until 24 weeks, or about six months’ gestation.
“It’s time to update Pa.’s laws to be in line with the will of most Americans as well as medical advancements that reveal the baby’s ability to feel pain and live outside the womb,” the statement read. “And we should continue to work to support women and men who are faced with unplanned pregnancies, so that they don’t feel abortion is their only option.”
The PCC encouraged state residents to support the measure by sending a message to their representative in the House.