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GOP gets ready to try again on bill banning abortion after 20 weeks

Supports of an abortion bill cheer during an anti-abortion rally at the Texas Capitol, Monday, July 8, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The fight over access to abortion in Texas resumed Monday with thousands expected to attend a marathon Senate hearing and a nighttime anti-abortion rally at the Capitol. (AP)

Legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy will soon be up again on the House floor, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

McCarthy sent a memo to his Republican colleagues outlining the agenda for May, and indicated it's possible the House will vote on that legislation in the coming weeks, after GOP leaders yanked it from the floor in January.

Supports of an abortion bill cheer during an anti-abortion rally at the Texas Capitol, Monday, July 8, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The fight over access to abortion in Texas resumed Monday with thousands expected to attend a marathon Senate hearing and a nighttime anti-abortion rally at the Capitol. Credit: AP House Republican leaders are looking to call up legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. A similar effort failed in January, but the GOP has said for months that bill would come back again. Credit: AP

"I also remain committed to completing H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," McCarthy wrote. He said the exact timing for that bill is not yet known, but would be announced to members "as soon as possible."

Republicans have said for months that they have not given up on the abortion bill, even though it suffered from a lack of support within the Republican Party back when it was first considered in January. Back then, Republican women in particular had concerns about the bill, and indicated they were worried that it wouldn't have much appeal to younger voters.

"That bill, I promise you, will be back on the floor very, very shortly," Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said at the time.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), has argued that the bill is needed because it's clear that babies in the womb aged 20 weeks and older are capable of feeling pain. He says abortions should be banned after that age, and said most Americans agree.

As usual, the bill included exceptions for rape, incest and when the life of the woman is at risk. However, the rape and incest exceptions could only be used if those crimes have been reported.

Some GOP women said that reporting requirement could be a problem, since many sex crimes are not reported. That was one of the concerns that let the GOP to stop consideration of the bill in January.

One last thing…
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