- (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will reportedly introduce a bill that would ban all abortions nationwide for all fetuses older than 20 weeks.
A similar bill was already passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives, 228 to 196, with six Democrats voting for it and six Republicans voting against it.
Rubio agreed Wednesday to become the lead sponsor of the Senate version, according to The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes. The ban would provide exceptions for rape, incest or the physical health of the mother.
The House bill was originally designed to only apply to abortions in the District of Columbia. After late-term abortions gained national attention during the trial of Kermit Gosnell earlier this year, that bill was modified to apply to the entire nation.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is the sponsor of a D.C. 20-week abortion ban in the Senate. The Christian Post contacted Lee's office Tuesday to find the status of that bill. A spokesperson said they are still working through the differences in the bills and no decision had been made on whether they would reintroduce it.
An abortion ban at 20 weeks is currently being debated in the Texas legislature. The state capital in Austin has been surrounded by demonstrators from both sides of the debate this week. This year, Arizona already passed a 20 week ban and North Dakota passed a law that will ban abortions after the fetus is six weeks old. Both those laws have not gone into effect due to court challenges.
Abortion bans at 20 weeks are sometimes known as "fetal pain" laws because that is age at which a fetus can feel pain.
Polls show broad public support for banning late-term abortions. A 2012 Gallup poll showed that 64 percent of Americans believe abortion should be illegal during the second trimester, which begins when the fetus is 13 weeks old, and 80 percent believe abortion should be illegal in the third trimester, which begins when the fetus is 29 weeks old. Even a slight majority, 52 percent, who describe themselves as "pro-choice" on abortion answered that abortion should be illegal in the second trimester, according to a 2011 Gallup poll.
Even with that strong public support, Rubio's bill will have a difficult time in the Democratic-controlled Senate. And, if the bill were to successfully pass, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill.