Abortion restrictions okayed in committee

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A committee in the Alabama House has approved legislation that would ban elective abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The House Health Committee passed the bill Wednesday on a voice vote with no audible opposition. The bill by Republican Rep. Kerry Rich of Albertville now goes to the House. Rich said he's optimistic about passage now that Republicans have a majority in the Legislature.

Rich said his bill is patterned after a law Nebraska enacted in 2010, and it is based on medical evidence that an unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks. He said elective abortions are allowed in Alabama now up to the point of viability, which is usually 24 to 26 weeks.

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