Michigan Bill Would Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Legislation introduced in the Michigan House would generally prohibit doctors from performing abortions after a woman’s twentieth week of pregnancy.

The legislation introduced last week by Republican Rep. Eileen Kowall of Oakland County’s White Lake Township is similar to laws approved in a handful of other states in the past few years.

Supporters say the proposals are based on the premise that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, a claim that opponents dispute.

Opponents also say the proposals are a departure from Roe v. Wade, which lets states limit abortions in cases where there’s a viable chance the fetus could survive outside of the womb. That’s generally considered to be 22 and 24 weeks.

The Michigan proposal would provide exceptions for when the mother’s life is at risk.

Under House Bill 5343, which creates the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a physician who performs an abortion after a woman’s 20th week of pregnancy would face felony charges, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Late last year, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a state ban on a late-term abortion procedure already prohibited under federal law, a move abortion opponents said was needed to make it easier to prosecute cases in the state. Read more, here.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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