LITTLE ROCK An Arkansas House panel has advanced a proposal that would ban abortions starting at the 20th week of a woman’s pregnancy on the basis of the disputed notion that a fetus is capable of feeling pain at that point.
Lawmakers on the House public health committee voted by voice Thursday to approve the measure. Several members dissented.
The proposal includes some exemptions for the medical health of the mother but not for rape and incest.
The committee heard testimony from opponents and supporters of the bill, including medical doctors on both sides of the issue.
Separately, lawmakers on the committee also advanced a bill that would prohibit most abortion coverage offered by Arkansas insurers under part of the federal health overhaul.
That proposal does include rape and incest exceptions.