Late-term abortion ban bill filed in US Senate, cites fetus pain at 20th week of pregnancy

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) holds a news conference to discuss the introduction of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the Senate in the US Capitol in Washington on June 11, 2015.Reuters

US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has introduced a bill in the US Senate that will ban abortion starting on the 20th week of pregnancy except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the pregnant woman.

Graham was joined by pro-life and pro-family leaders when he unveiled his proposed Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the Senate on Thursday.

"I don't believe abortion, five months into pregnancy, makes us a better nation. I look forward to leading this long-overdue effort and pushing for a roll call vote in the Senate," said Graham, adding that there are only seven countries in the world, including China and North Korea, that allow abortions on the 20th week of pregnancy and onwards.

"The United States should not be in that club," he said. "America is at her best when she's standing up for the least among us and the sooner we pass this legislation into law, the better. We are on the right side of history."

Graham said scientific evidence shows that at the 20th week of pregnancy, the fetus can feel pain. The act is a companion legislation of a bill passed by the US House of Representatives in May by a vote of 242-184.

The act said the unborn child shows physical, chemical, brain and stress responses demonstrating pain starting on the 20th week of pregnancy.

It prohibits anyone from performing an abortion without determining first the post-fertilization age of the unborn child.

Abortion will be allowed only in cases where it is necessary to safe the life of the pregnant woman or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest against a minor and the abuse is reported to social services or the police.

A woman who underwent abortion in violation of the act may file a civil suit against the abortion provider for damages.

The act also requires abortion doctors to submit a yearly data to the National Center for Health and Statistics on abortions carried out after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Violation of the act will be penalised by imprisonment of up to five years, fine or both.

The woman who undergoes abortion in violation of the act cannot be sued.

Pro-life organization Family Research Council has thrown its support to the bill. "If there's one thing worth fighting for, it is the right to life," said Tony Perkins, FRC president.

"Remember, abortion is not just about ending the life of a baby, but in many cases it's about robbing the future of a mother," he added.

He called on President Obama and Democrats "to withdraw their opposition to this bill."