The Georgia Senate voted 36 to 19 to pass a bill that would prohibit women in the state from having an abortion after 20 weeks gestation, on the unsupported premise that the fetus can experience pain at 20 weeks. The bill passed with an amendment allowing for an exception for “medically futile” pregnancies, which would apply in cases where the fetus experiences a fatal “congenital or chromosomal defect.”
The bill does not, however, include an exception for rape, incest, or when the womans life is endangered. If the bill becomes law, doctors found to be in violation of it could be imprisoned for up to 10 years.
Currently, six states have “fetal pain” restrictions: Nebraska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. The American College of Gynecology disputes assertions that a fetus can feel pain at the 20 weeks gestation period, stating that there is “no legitimate evidence that fetuses can experience pain.”
National Partnership for Women and Families 3/27/12; Think Progress 3/27/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/14/12