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Bill banning abortion after 20 weeks fails to advance in the Senate

(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A bill that would have prevented physicians from performing abortions after 20 weeks has failed to garner enough votes to move forward in the Senate.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), needed 60 votes to take the legislation up for debate, but it only gained the support of 51 lawmakers when the Senate voted on the bill on Monday.

Forty-six senators had voted against a debate on the measure, which was aimed at banning abortions after 20-weeks gestation of pregnancy, when the baby is said to be capable of feeling pain. The measure included an exemption for victims of rape, but only if the woman received medical treatment or counseling at least 48 hours before undergoing an abortion.

Trump, who indicated support for the bill during his March for Life address earlier this month, expressed disappointment that the measure was blocked from further consideration in the Senate, noting that the bill had gained the support of the majority of U.S. Senators.

"Scientific studies have demonstrated that babies in the womb feel pain at twenty weeks. The vote by the Senate rejects scientific fact and puts the United States out of the mainstream in the family of nations, in which only 7 out of 198 nations, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy," the president said, according to CNS News.

"We must defend those who cannot defend themselves. I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish, and protect life," he added.

Graham issued a statement following the vote, saying it "represents real progress for the pro-life movement."

"The more we discuss this matter, the more support we get from the American people. Similar to the fight to pass the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, it's only a matter of time until we secure the votes to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," he added.

The ban on abortions after 20 weeks is currently enacted in 16 states, namely, Ohio, Texas, Nebraska, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas.

According to Life News, the measure is based on model legislation developed by National Right to Life in 2010.

In Utah, lawmakers took a unique approach to address the issue of fetal pain by passing legislation that requires abortion practitioners to administer painkillers or anesthesia to unborn babies aborted after five months.

Statistics from the Center for Disease Control revealed that at least 5,770 late-term abortions were performed on babies older than 20 weeks in the U.S. in 2013.

A recent poll has indicated that 67 percent of Americans are in favor of significant abortion restrictions, including making the procedure illegal after three months of pregnancy. More than 60 percent of Americans were also in favor of banning the procedure after 20 weeks into pregnancy, while six in 10 oppose the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions.

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