Another reason for the bill's passage is that studies show unborn babies can feel pain around the age of 20 weeks, supporters of the bill said.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, documented the research showing that unborn babies can indeed feel pain at 20 weeks post-fertilization, as well as exhibit defensive responses during invasive procedures in the womb as early as six weeks post-fertilization.
One 2013 study which used the procedure "functional magnetic resonance" to study pain responses of unborn babies found that "functional neuronal connections" in their brains "sufficient to experience pain already exist by 22 weeks post-fertilization."
Additionally, "there is extensive evidence of a hormonal stress response by unborn babies as early as 16 weeks post-fertilization," according to one study, the institute found.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday announced the bill would receive a vote. "Not only will passing this legislation keep a promise we made, but all the work is for the same goal – ending suffering, and helping people live," he said.
It is expected to pass the House, which has in recent years already passed several significant pro-life bills including the defunding of Planned Parenthood and a bill that would set up additional protections against taxpayer funding of abortions.
President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail to sign a Pain-Capable bill if one came to his desk, but the Senate has remained the chamber where the pro-life bills languish. Far fewer than 60 senators – enough votes to bring a bill to the floor for a vote – have consistent pro-life voting records.
This means that the 2018 mid-term elections could be critical, said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser.
"We are preparing for 2018 Senate elections," Dannenfelser told CNA on Tuesday. "If we come up short, which is likely, short of a Micah miracle, what we're doing is we're building that Senate up to a 60-vote margin."
There was evidence of significant public support for a five month abortion ban in 2013, after the trial of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia and three convictions for first-degree murder in the killing of babies born alive.
A more recent Quinnipiac University poll from January 2017 showed the public evenly split between supporting and opposing a ban on abortions after 20 weeks in the state they resided in.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Yet the bill is about more than public support, its supporters say. It is about protecting women and children from the evil of abortion.
"We want to be there for the woman, and we know that we need a law to protect the children," Dannenfelser said on Tuesday.
"It is time that America recognizes and responds to the humanity" of unborn children, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said on Tuesday, "and the inhumanity of what is being done to them."