House Republicans on Wednesday dropped a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks, abandoning legislation that at one time seemed certain to pass the chamber but fell victim to intra-party disputes over concerns that the law would alienate women voters, Fox News reports.
The failure of the bill, which was intended to be Congress’ first anti-abortion legislation of the new session, reflects divides in the GOP just weeks after it assumed control of both houses for the first time in eight years.
Instead, the House will vote Thursday — the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision — on a bill that would ban the use of tax dollars for abortions, the same law that was passed by the House nearly one year ago but died in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats.
The substitute bill would make permanent the so-called Hyde amendment, which bans all federal money for abortion services.
The failed bill, which reflected the idea that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, would have criminalized virtually all abortions for pregnancies of 20 weeks or longer. It would offer some exceptions, including for victims of rape that have already been reported to authorities.