JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith have both co-sponsored a bill aiming to ban most abortions nationwide after the fetus reaches 20 weeks.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), would provide “common-sense protections for unborn children at 20 weeks after fertilization.”
According to Graham, at this point in gestation there is “significant scientific evidence” that abortion inflicts pain on the fetus.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, however, states that fetuses are not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester - which begins at 27 weeks.
One study submitted to the Journal of Medical Ethics though says that “neuroscience cannot definitively rule out fetal pain before 24 weeks.”
“There are only seven countries that allow wholesale abortions at the 20-week period, including China and North Korea,” Graham said. “The United States should not be in that club. I don’t believe abortion, five months into pregnancy, makes us a better nation.”
“Protecting the dignity of life extends to protecting the unborn, especially from the point at which the innocent child is capable of feeling pain,” echoed Hyde-Smith.
If passed, the bill would allow abortions past 20 weeks in order to save the life of the mother or in the cases of rape or incest.
Abortions in these cases would only proceed “in a manner that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive unless that would pose a greater risk of death or serious bodily injury to the pregnant woman.”
As of now, an abortion may be performed in Mississippi up to 16 weeks post-fertilization and up to 20 weeks in cases of life endangerment or severely compromised health.
Read the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act HERE.