Tell Congress to Oppose 20-Week Abortion Ban

May 29, 2013

Rep. Trent Franks is at it again. Last month, the Republican Congressman from Arizona introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would outlaw all abortions in Washington, D.C. after 20 weeks — with saving the mother from death being the only exception.

Now, Franks has announced his intention to amend the bill and expand its reach nationwide. That’s right: Rep. Franks wants a nationwide ban on abortions after 20 weeks. The bill has quickly racked up 133 co-sponsors in the House, and has a companion in the Senate, S. 886.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) considers these proposals an outrage and urges members to contact their elected officials in Congress to oppose them.

H.R. 1797 (PDF) and S.886 (PDF) are wrong and harmful for several reasons.

  • They would prevent a woman from getting an abortion in many dire situations: where continuing a pregnancy could put at risk her health or ability to bear children in the future; where she is suffering from mental illness; and where she has learned of a severe or fatal fetal anomaly.
  • They would impose criminal penalties on any physician found to violate the law, including fines and up to two years in prison. 
  • They are based on the faulty assumption that fetuses can experience pain at 20 weeks. This is unsupported by existing scientific research, which suggests fetuses do not experience pain until at least 29 or 30 weeks. Furthermore, only 1.4 percent of all abortions happen after 21 weeks, and those usually occur due to urgent health dangers or difficulty accessing abortion services.
  • They clearly violate almost 40 years of Supreme Court jurisprudence. The Court has held consistently  in Roe v. Wade (1973), Doe v. Bolton (1973), and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)  that the U.S. Constitution provides women with the right to choose whether to have an abortion at any point prior to fetal viability.

Reproductive health care laws should be based on reason, science, and humanist values, and women should have the right to make their own reproductive choices without interference from politicians.

Message your elected officials today and tell them to oppose H.R. 1797 and S. 886!

Take action now!