The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act needed 60 votes to advance in the Senate, but it was blocked in a procedural vote, 51-46.
The bill, which includes exceptions for instances where the life is at risk and in cases involving rape or incest, was passed by the House of Representatives in October.
Similar legislation also failed in 2013 and 2015. Unlike the past two attempts, when President Barack Obama was in office, the bill this time had support from Republican President Donald Trump.Related Content: Where US abortion laws stand 45 years after Roe v. Wade
Similar legislation is already enacted in several states. But opponents of the legislation argue 20-week abortion bans are unconstitutional.
“I oppose the fact that we are still voting on whether women and doctors are best equipped to make health care decisions – or politicians here in DC,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, said on the Senate floor Monday afternoon.
Ahead of the vote, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, who sponsored the bill, expected it would only get slightly more than 50 votes. Speaking on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Graham predicted Monday morning the bill will eventually pass, even if it takes years.
“It’s just a matter of time that we’ll win the day, because it just makes so much common sense,” he said.