Use quotes to search for exact phrases. Use AND/OR/NOT between keywords or phrases for more precise search results.

Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HR 1797)

This law was last updated on Sep 23, 2013




HR 1797


Failed to Pass


Apr 26, 2013


Primary Sponsors: 1
Total Sponsors: 1


20-Week Bans, Later Abortion

Full Bill Text

HR 1797 would have banned abortion at 20 weeks or more “probable post-fertilization age” in all 50 states.

A physician would have been required to determine the “probable post-fertilization age” of a fetus prior to performing, or attempting to perform, an abortion.

Abortion would have been permitted if, in reasonable medical judgment, it is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition arising from the pregnancy, not including psychological or emotional conditions.

Abortion would have been permitted if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest against a minor, and the rape or incest has been reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency. (A similar bill, which was introduced and failed in 2012 (HR 3803), did not contain such an exception.)

The bill states that an abortion performed after 20 weeks must be performed in a manner that provides the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive unless termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk of death or serious physical injury, not including psychological or emotional conditions, to the pregnant woman than another available method.

The bill specifies that an individual who performs, or attempts to perform, an abortion in violation of the provisions of this bill will be subject to a fine, a prison term of up to five years, or both. Women upon whom an abortion is performed would have been from prosecution.

The bill includes legislative findings based on junk science that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.


The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives and was referred to Committee in the Senate on June 19, 2013. On November 7, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the Senate version of the bill, S 1670.

A similar bill, HR 3803, sponsored by Trent Franks (R-AZ) was introduced and failed in 2012.  HR 3803 banned abortion after 20 weeks only in the District of Columbia. RH Reality Check reported that right-wing leaders redrafted it to extend the ban to all 50 states to capitalize on the public’s revulsion following the conviction of rogue abortion provider Kermit Gosnell in May 2013. (Source.)


Primary Sponsor