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"For people, regardless of where they might stand, when an unborn child can feel pain I think most people feel it's appropriate to protect that child," the governor said.
A child's ability to feel pain constitutes a "reasonable standard" for the state to offer protection.
"At five months, that's the time when that unborn child can feel pain," he added. "When an unborn child can feel pain, we should be protecting that child."
The measure would disallow abortions after 20 weeks except to save the mother's life or if she would suffer major, irreparable physical harm within the next 24 hours.
Abortions outside that criteria would be classified as felonies carrying a maximum sentence of three-and-a-half years in prison and a $10,000 fine.