Efforts to criminalise abortions carried out after 20 weeks of pregnancy were revived in Congress on Tuesday as Senate Republicans sought to capitalise on pro-life issues as a midterm election weapon against Democrats.

Minority leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleague Lindsey Graham urged Senate majority leader Harry Reid to allow a vote on their proposed bill, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

It would impose prison sentences of up to five years on doctors carrying out terminations in an estimated 1.5% of later abortion cases that fall between 20 weeks and the current 24-week limit.

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