The House of Representatives approved a measure that bans all abortions after 20 weeks by a vote of 228 to 196.
Under the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a woman is exempt from the 20 week threshold if her life is threatened or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
Lawmakers debated the issue on the House floor Tuesday.
"...what happens in a mid-term or later pregnancy when there is an abortion? what happens is just absolute torture. this bill is not just about abortion. this is about pain. it's about torture to that young life and we can't say that this is like an amputation of a limb," argued Republican Representative John Fleming of Louisiana.
Democratic Representative Barbara Lee of California said, "once again Republicans have decided to make women's health a battleground as part of their - yes - ongoing war on women."
"The bill this week on the floor is nothing more than a direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade."
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called abortion sacred ground.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., retorted, "We are indeed treading upon sacred ground, but it's because we're dealing with the sanctity of every human life."
The Democratic-led Senate plans to ignore the bill and and the White House has already issued a veto threat.