House bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks

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Legislation has been introduced by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) – HB 89 – that would prohibit abortions from being performed after 20 weeks.

The only exceptions to the proposed ban on abortions would be instances where the life of the mother or the life of a twin fetus would be endangered.

Peake’s bill states that abortions should be prohibited after 20 weeks of gestation because there is “substantial evidence that an unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain.”

The “fetal pain” argument has been a subject of dispute in the abortion debate for several years.

In a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2005, a team of doctors concluded that fetuses “probably cannot feel pain in the first six months of gestation and therefore do not need anesthesia during abortions.”

The report said nerve connections in the brain were unlikely to be developed to the point where a fetus would feel pain before 29 weeks.

Georgia lawmakers have been placing more restrictions on abortions in recent years, although they have not been able to outlaw the procedure completely.

In 2005, the General Assembly passed a bill that required a 24-hour waiting period, notification of parents, and the provision of state-mandated information about the medical consequences of abortions to women who seek the procedure.

In 2007, legislators adopted a bill that said pregnant women who underwent an ultrasound must be offered the chance to see the fetal image and hear the fetal heartbeat. The legislation was intended to discourage women from seeking an abortion.

In more recent sessions, attempts by anti-abortion legislators to pass a “human rights amendment” that would trigger a review by the U.S. Supreme Court have fallen short.

© 2011 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: abortion restrictions , Allen Peake