Missouri House backs ban on most abortions after 20 weeks

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri House has endorsed a bill that would ban most abortions after a fetus is 20 weeks old.

The legislation given initial approval Monday includes an exception only when a woman’s life is endangered or she is at “serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

Supporters of the bill said their goal was to prohibit most abortions after an age at which they believe fetuses can feel pain.

The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, said that as of the end of last year there were 18 states with laws banning most abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization.

Some opponents of the bill said abortions should remain an option for women whose fetuses develop extreme abnormalities after 20 weeks.

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