As it stands the GOP's current abortion bill - slated to be introduced next week - would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The current legislation makes allowances for abortion in the case of rape, but requires that women formally report their assault to the police in order to qualify for the exemption. But some Republican congresswomen, led by Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, are dissatisfied with the exemption's language.
A Republican staffer involved in the discussion said at least six lawmakers had raised the issue with Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) during a closed-door meeting Tuesday. The senior-level aide said the Republican lawmakers argue that enacting a ban with only a formal exemption could further dissuade rape victims from coming forward.
The lawmakers, the staffer said, are aggressively pressing Scalise to rewrite the bill to include a broader exemption for victims of sexual assault before the bill comes to the floor next week.
Democrats have loudly opposed the legislation. Louise Slaughter (New York) and Diane DeGette (Colorado) called the reporting requirements "unconscionable."
The bill, named the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, will come to a vote on Thursday, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Politico notes that it will also be the same day as the annual anti-abortion rally, March for Life.
The GOP seems to be committed to the current language of the rape exemption. "This is something we can all get together on," co-author of the bill Trent Franks (R-Arizona) said last week. "The truth is, this bill is a deeply sincere effort to protect both mothers and their pain-capable unborn babies."
Let's all marvel over the insanity that is the phrase "pain-capable unborn babies."
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