The House Judiciary Committee was forced by a lengthy, often bitter debate Wednesday to wait until next week to act on a bill making it a crime for doctors to perform late-term abortions.
After a day full of heated arguments and vitriol, committee chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., said he hoped to return to the bill Tuesday.
The panel debated the legislation for hours Wednesday, with supporters of the bill calling doctors who perform late-term abortions “hired killers” and abortion-rights advocates accusing the authors of trying to outlaw all abortions.
The bill would subject doctors who perform a procedure fitting the description to fines or up to two years in prison. The bill also gives the father and other family members the right to sue a doctor for damages.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., told the story of a friend of hers, whose daughter-in-law learned 36 weeks into her pregnancy that the fetus’ brain was growing outside of the cranium. She had an abortion, Lofgren said.
She asked lawmakers to “search your hearts” before deciding to outlaw the abortions.