House Votes to Ban Most Abortions After 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

The House voted Wednesday to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy as Republicans delivered a key piece of the pro-life agenda and overcame an embarrassing false start earlier this year.

Dubbed the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” the legislation cleared on a 242-184 vote that largely broke along party lines, with just four pro-life Democrats joining in support and four Republicans voting against it.

Forty-two states already prohibit abortion after a certain point in the pregnancy, with 10 using the 20-week threshold — the point where some controversial research says fetuses can feel pain. Wednesday’s bill would extend the ban nationwide.

“We have no higher obligation than to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said.