By a 54-42 vote, the U.S. Senate fell short today of the 60 needed to pass a
ban on most abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. Several Democrats and Republicans switched sides..
As with the Arkansas anti-abortion law, there was no except for grave fetal problems sometimes undiscovered until the late stages of pregnancy. Such a case — written about by an Air Force flyer stationed here — failed to move the Arkansas legislature. It's just as timely now.
Arkansas's senators John Boozman
and Tom Cotton
voted for the ban.
According to the most recent figures available, from 2013, only 36 abortions were performed at 20 weeks or later in Arkansas in a year. These are invariably the result of health issues for mother or fetus. Planned Parenthood
does not perform such abortions in its Little Rock and Fayetteville clinics.
Also: The U.S. legislation, like that in Arkansas, is titled on the proposition that the fetus feels pain at this gestational age. The contention is disputed.
The 20-week ban is also weeks shorter than the generally accepted age for viability,