Republican Lawmakers Announce Legislation Aimed at Banning Abort - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Republican Lawmakers Want to Halt Abortions After 20 Weeks

Posted: May 08, 2018 6:37 PM Updated:

DOVER, Del.- Republican lawmakers on Tuesday afternoon announced legislation that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Senate Bill 205 would make it a felony offense for someone to perform an abortion after a time period in which supporters say an unborn child can feel pain. Violators of the proposed law could face fines or possible jail time.

"We have both the pregnant mother and her unborn child and what this bill does is protect unborn children that can feel pain," said Dr. Donna Harrison with the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians And Gynecologists.

The legislation does carve out an exemption for aborting a fetus after 20 weeks in cases when a woman's life is threatened.

Planned Parenthood of Delaware CEO Ruth Lytle-Barnaby said she was opposed to the legislation and said there is research that disputes what supporters of SB 205 have said about when an unborn baby can feel pain. She also said abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in Delaware are rare.

"We need to trust women and their doctors to make these decisions," she said in a phone interview.

The legislation comes after Delaware passed a law last year aimed at safeguarding abortion rights and changed state code to allow an abortion up until a doctor deems that a fetus is viable. The law was signed by Democratic Gov. John Carney.

Sen. Bryant Richardson, R-Seaford, a prime sponsor on the bill, remained optimistic the 20-week ban could be passed in the General Assembly.

"I think the better educated that people are on both sides of the aisle, the more they'll realize this is horrendous and that it should stop," he said.

Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark/Bear, was a primary sponsor on the abortion rights law passed last year. He plans to oppose the 20-week ban proposed by Republicans.

"We had this debate last year and nothing has changed since then," he said.

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