The “fetal pain” bill was passed by Missouri House lawmakers on Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate. If passed, it will block abortions after 20 weeks.

The Kansas City Star reportsA bill barring abortions after a fetus is capable of feeling pain sailed through the House on a 117-31 vote. Pregnancies deemed dangerous after the fetus is capable of feeling pain would be permissible if two doctors sign off, but Missouri House members want women’s doctors to perform whatever procedure gives the fetus the best chance of survival.

Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson, said that’s a Caesarian section, not an abortion.

Missouri already bans abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, but the bill would tighten that window to 20 weeks.

“If the baby survives, that’s wonderful,” Lichtenegger said. “If the baby does die, at least it died with dignity, and you can give a proper burial for that child.”

Lichtenegger sponsored the bill, which would outlaw abortions for fetuses capable of feeling pain. She and supporters argued abortions create suffering for fetuses in later stages of gestation.

“What if we could hear the cry, the response to that pain? Would we still hold this callous view that this child is a choice, that this child has an anomaly and doesn’t deserve to breathe oxygen, to be held by their mother and father?” said Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton.

Some medical professionals, however, dispute claims that fetuses can feel pain and experience suffering at 18 or 20 weeks. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in January that 20-week-old fetuses cannot experience pain.


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