Tell Your U.S. Senators to Oppose 20-Week Abortion Ban
May 14, 2014
This week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has led an effort to force a vote on one of his legislative proposals, S. 1670, which would outlaw all abortions in the United States after 20 weeks — with exceptions only for the mother’s life, and officially reported instances of rape and incest.
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) considers this bill harmful and misguided, and urges members to contact their U.S. Senators to oppose it.
S. 1670 (PDF), which has 40 Republican co-sponsors, is unacceptable for multiple reasons:
- The bill restricts the reproductive rights of women, clearly violating 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.
- The bill addresses a problem that doesn’t exist. Only 1.2 percent of all abortions happen after 20 weeks, and those usually occur due to urgent health dangers or difficulty accessing abortion services. This bill could 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.
- The bill is based on baseless assertions, not science. S. 1670 claims 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.
- The bill would impose unbelievably harsh criminal penalties. Any physician found to violate the law could face hefty fines and up to five years in prison.
Reproductive health care laws should respect the autonomy of women and be based on reason and science, not sectarian religious beliefs or pseudoscience. Women have the right to make their own reproductive choices without interference from politicians.