Factbox: "Fetal pain" anti-abortion bills advance in many states

CHICAGO Wed Apr 6, 2011 5:28pm EDT

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Last year, Nebraska passed a law banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on research that fetuses feel pain at that point. This year, 16 states are considering similar abortion bans.

* The states considering Nebraska-style fetal pain bills, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Carolina, according to abortion rights advocates.

* Ohio is considering a 20-week ban which requires doctors to test for viability at 20 weeks. Abortion would not be allowed if the fetus could live outside the womb. The bill, which is not considered a fetal pain bill, passed Ohio's Senate Wednesday.

* In Kansas, Idaho and Oklahoma, fetal-pain bills have passed both chambers of the state legislature, though in Oklahoma, the bill has to return to the House before moving to the governor's desk.

* The bills have passed through one legislative chamber in Indiana and Iowa.

* The bills make exceptions if the mother is facing death or substantial, irreversible medical impairment, according to the National Right to Life Committee. Opponents claim the bills does not make adequate exception for serious threats to the woman's health, or for cases when a fetus cannot survive.

* Abortions after 21 weeks represent 1.5 percent of all abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Additional reporting by Steve Olafson; Editing by Greg McCune)

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