Lawmaker Files Fetal Pain Bill Banning Abortions After 20 Weeks

Jan 10, 2017

Rep. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota).
Credit Florida House of Representatives

A Florida Republican has filed a measure prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks.  The proposal is part of a larger trend of so-called fetal pain legislation.

Under current law, Florida’s bans abortions after 24 weeks unless the mother’s life is endangered.  The cut-off is tied to a generally accepted point at which the fetus is viable outside the womb.  But Rep. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) is trying to advance the prohibition by about a month.  He says fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks, and so abortions after that point should be banned.  But many researchers reject his claim.  If Florida approves the bill it will join fifteen other states with similar laws on the books.