House committee mulls abortion ban after 20 weeks

Federal law allows bans after 24 weeks

Published On: Apr 10 2013 03:39:13 PM CDT
AUSTIN, Texas -

A Texas House panel is set to debate hot-button legislation to ban abortions in Texas after 20 weeks. That's the point at which anti-abortion activists contend a fetus can feel pain.

Gov. Rick Perry has joined some of the Legislature's most conservative voices in cheering a bill to be considered Wednesday by the House State Affairs Committee.

Current federal law allows complete bans on abortions after 24 weeks but leaves procedures done between 12 and 24 weeks into pregnancy subject to state regulation.

Abortion rights activists say scientific studies have given no evidence to support the contention that a fetus feels pain after 20 weeks' gestation.

Nevertheless, Arkansas and several other states have recently passed bans after 20 weeks, but also have faced legal challenges.