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Abortion issue debated by House committee

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A hot button issue hit a House Committee Wednesday. Lawmakers debated the so-called fetal pain bill, the measure seeking to ban abortions after 20 weeks in Texas.

The main argument focused on when fetuses can feel pain.

"I was in the abortion business for six years and I watched babies under stenography pull away from the instruments when they were used on them,” Carol Everett with the Women’s Wellness Coalition of Texas said. “I know those babies must have felt pain."

Everett now works with women to keep them from having abortions.

"It's important for us to realize that babies do have nerve endings,” Everett said. “They do feel pain and we have no business hurting any Texan no matter where they live."

Abortion rights activists say scientific studies have given no evidence to support the debate that a fetus feels pain after 20 weeks in the womb.

"We are opposed to this ban because we feel that these decisions should be a private, medical decision between a woman, her physician and her family,” Heather Busby, Executive Director of NARAL Pro Choice Texas. “The government should stay out of these types of medical decisions."

Those against the Republican-backed legislation say they're no strangers to these issues and are ready to battle it out again.

"Every session we are fighting restrictions on a woman's right to choose abortion and to make these private medical decisions for herself without government interference," Busby said.

Current federal law allows complete bans on abortions after 24 weeks. It leaves procedures done between 12 and 24 weeks into pregnancy up to the states.

Arkansas and several other states have recently passed bans after 20 weeks, but they've also faced legal challenges.

The Texas bill was left pending in committee.

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