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Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act of 2015 (S. 1553)

This law was last updated on Oct 29, 2018

This law is Anti–Choice




S. 1553


Failed to Pass


Jun 11, 2015


Co-sponsors: 45
Primary Sponsors: 1
Total Sponsors: 46


20-Week Bans, Informed Consent

Full Bill Text

S. 1553 would ban abortion at 20 weeks or more in all 50 states.

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

The bill prohibits an abortion from being performed if the probable post-fertilization age of the “unborn child” is 20 weeks or greater, except:

  • where necessary to save the life of a pregnant person;
  • where the pregnancy is the result of rape against an adult and, at least 48 hours prior to the abortion, such adult has obtained counseling or medical treatment for the rape; or
  • where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest against a minor and the rape or incest has been reported prior to the abortion to a law enforcement agency or a government agency.

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 of the pregnant woman or the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions of the pregnant person than another available method.

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

Informed Consent

The bill requires the physician who intends to perform an abortion under one of this Act’s exceptions to first obtain a signed informed consent authorization form, which must consist of:

  • a statement by the physician indicating the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus;
  • a statement that federal law allows an abortion after 20 weeks fetal age only if the patient’s life is endangered when the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest against a minor;
  • a statement that the abortion must be performed by the method most likely to allow the child to be born alive unless this would cause significant risk to the pregnant patient;
  • a statement that in any case in which an abortion procedure results in a child born alive, federal law requires that child to be given every form of medical assistance that is provided to children spontaneously born prematurely;
  • a statement that these requirements are binding upon the physician and all other medical personnel who are subject to criminal and civil penalties and that an individual on whom an abortion has been performed may take civil action if these requirements are not followed; and
  • affirmation that each signer has filled out the informed consent form and understands the information contained in the form.

The form would need to be signed by the physician performing the abortion, the pregnant person obtaining the abortion, and a witness.

Related Legislation

Similar to H.R. 36.