Tell Your U.S. Representative to Vote “No” on 20-Week Abortion Ban

June 18, 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week on a bill that would outlaw all abortions in the United States after 20 weeks — with rape, incest, and saving the mother from death being the only exceptions.

H.R. 1797, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), was originally intended to restrict abortions only in Washington, D.C. However, Franks has amended the bill to expand its reach nationwide. It has racked up a whopping 184 co-sponsors.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) considers this an absurd proposal, and urges you to contact your U.S. representative immediately to oppose it.

H.R. 1797 (PDF) is wrong and harmful for several reasons.

  • It 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.
  • It would impose criminal penalties on any physician found to violate the law, including fines and up to two years in prison. 
  • It is 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.
  • It clearly violates almost 40 years of Supreme Court jurisprudence. As a federal court recently recognized in striking down Arizona’s 20-week ban, the Supreme 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 U.S. representative today and tell them to oppose H.R. 1797!

Take action now!