Senate committee advances bill that would ban non-emergency abortions after 20 weeks

MADISON -- A Wisconsin Senate committee has advanced a bill that would ban non-emergency abortion procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In a meeting Thursday, the Senate Health Committee approved the fast-tracked bill on a 3-2 party-line vote with Republicans in support.

Under the proposal, doctors who perform an abortion after 20 weeks in non-emergency situations could be charged with a felony and subject to $10,000 in fines or 3 ½ years in prison.

Senate leaders have said the full Senate will vote to pass it Tuesday.

The bill's supporters say a 20-week-old fetus can feel pain and shouldn't be subject to abortion procedures.

Opponents contend that a fetus can't experience pain until the third trimester begins at 27 weeks.

Gov. Scott Walker has said he would sign the bill.