Wisconsin abortion

Wisconsin's State Capitol
Ann Althouse, Flickr

Republican lawmakers believe a fetus can feel pain 20 weeks after fertilization. They say they base their point of view on the opinions of doctors they trust.  

So the legislators are considering prohibiting most abortions after 20 weeks.

Right now, Wisconsin bans most abortions after viability – about 24 weeks.

Democratic critics of the ban say scientific research concludes fetuses cannot feel pain until later in a pregnancy.

The rules would would ban abortions in Wisconsin after 20 weeks. If a medical emergency arises later, physicians must try to keep the fetus alive. Doctors would face criminal charges for violating the rules and could be sued both the woman and the father.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services approved the bill on a party line, 3-2 vote Thursday, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against. The item now moves to the full state Senate.