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House Republican Caucus Splits Over Anti-Abortion Bill

Republican leaders had planned on Thursday House passage of the legislation, which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
House Republican Caucus Splits Over Anti-Abortion Bill
Image from: Huffington Post

We knew this would happen -- now that they control both houses, they're going to find it hard to hold the caucus together on every vote. Sit back and watch the fun:

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an embarrassing setback, House Republicans abruptly decided Wednesday to drop planned debate of a bill criminalizing virtually all late-term abortions after objections from GOP women and other lawmakers left them short of votes.

The decision came on the eve of the annual March for Life, when thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators stream to Washington to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. It also came with GOP leaders eager to show unity and an ability by the new Republican-led Congress to govern efficiently.

Despite a White House veto threat, Republican leaders had planned on Thursday House passage of the legislation, which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

But they ran into objections from women and other Republican lawmakers unhappy that the measure limited exemptions for victims of rape or incest to only those who had previously reported those incidents to authorities.

The rebellious lawmakers argued that that would put unfair pressure on women who often feel shame or fear retaliation if they report those assaults.

In a complication GOP leaders were not able to resolve, they then ran into objections from anti-abortion groups and lawmakers when they discussed eliminating the reporting requirements.

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said leaders made the decision after meeting "really, all day" with rank-and-file lawmakers.

Congressional Democrats who solidly oppose the legislation, along with abortion rights advocates, all but mocked the GOP's problem. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Republicans suffered "a meltdown."


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