This past Tuesday GOP leaders in the House of Representatives took the first step towards criminalizing abortion completely by passing a bill to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks with the exception of rape, incest, or cases where the mother could lose her life.
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act criminalizes abortions after 20 weeks with the possibility of a fine, 5 years in jail or both for anyone who performs or attempts the procedure.
“It will protect those children who science has proven can feel pain, and give them a chance to grow and live full and happy lives,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a statement last week.
Although the bill passed in the House with a vote of 237-189, the bill is likely to face some opposition in the Senate. According to The Hill, a similar bill was passed in the House in 2015 but was blocked by Senate Democrats.
It would be unlikely that House Republicans, with only a 52-seat majority, would successfully gather the 60 votes needed to present this legislation to President Trump.
Women’s rights and pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood Action Fund believe that this ban is unnecessary, unconstitutional and most importantly it’s part of an agenda to weaken and eventually destroy Roe vs. Wade.
Although they are highly unlikely that late into a pregnancy, abortions after 20 weeks are sometimes a necessity for a variety of health reasons that should be the concern of a woman and her doctor, stated Planned Parenthood Action Fund online.
The landmark decision in 1973 in the case of Roe vs. Wade gave women the constitutional right to make their own medical decisions without the interference of politicians or anyone else who might not understand their health. Yet anti-choice supporters are constantly trying to push the limits.
Roe vs. Wade allows women to perform an abortion any time before viability, when fetuses can be expected to live outside the womb. Viability begins after 24 weeks of pregnancy. NOT after week 20.
Now more than ever, women’s rights are in jeopardy because the outlaw of abortion has the support of the White House.
Since before his election, Trump has supported such a bill and promised to defund programs like Planned Parenthood where abortions are performed.
It’s clear that anti-abortion groups simply want to strip women of their rights and ban safe abortions. This especially puts women of color and low income women at a disadvantage, according to Kathleen Turner from Cosmopolitan.
For those that would like to help, you can start by joining the movement and supporting organizations like Planned Parenthood to stay open and continue providing these services for women.