It would make nearly all abortions after 20 weeks illegal; anyone who performed the procedure could face a potential prison term of five years, fines or both, though exceptions could be made when the life of the mother was at risk, or in cases of rape or incest. The Senate floor debate offered supporters and opponents of abortion rights an opportunity to speak expansively. The 20-week ban, named the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is central to the strategy of the anti-abortion movement, which is newly emboldened under Mr. Trump.
The president’s election in 2016 ushered in a wave of anti-abortion victories in states like Ohio. As of 2017, 57 percent of Americans said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 40 percent said it should be illegal in all or most cases. “The United States keeps the company of countries like China and North Korea. They deny unborn children the most basic of protections,’’ Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, said on the Senate floor Monday. “This, folks, is not who we are as a nation.”