The 20-Week Abortion Ban Could Make Unsafe Abortions More Prevalent

The 20-Week Abortion Ban Could Make Unsafe Abortions More Prevalent

Unsafe abortions occur wherever abortion access is restricted.

Last month, the Washington Post reporters Jenna Johnson and Mike DeBonis explained the House of Representatives passed a bill, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which was supported by President Trump, banning abortions for those who are over 20 weeks pregnant.

In order to pass as a law, the next step for the bill is to pass in the Senate. However, because the Senate is predominately Democrat, the measure isn’t expect to pass, but reproductive rights activists and advocates consider Trump’s enthusiasm enough to raise noise and speak out.

The current political climate, particularly under the Trump administration, has fueled the advancement of time-specific abortion bans. Time-specific bans jeopardize abortion access, no matter how long someone has been pregnant, because pro-life legislation won’t just stop at 20 weeks.

On November 1, the Huffington Post Senior Politics Reporter, Laura Bassett, reported House Republicans are attempting to introduce a 6-week ban to help justify their 20-week ban. However, remember that since the House is majority Republican, this measure has a strong potential of passing still, especially keeping the 20-week ban in mind.

Restricted abortion access does not prevent abortions from being performed. The World Health Organization reports 25 million unsafe abortions are performed every single year, particularly in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, due to restrictive reproductive health laws. This data reveals that lack of access to safe abortions goes hand-in-hand with public health risks for pregnant people.

While these laws have yet to pass, abortion access is already extremely limited the further along someone is in their pregnancy. There are only four doctors who perform third trimester (which begins at the 28-week mark) abortions in the United States today. The Emmy-winning documentary, After Tiller, interviewed these doctors in depth, in effort to remember Kansas doctor George Tiller, who was murdered for performing abortions in 2009.

An important part of fighting back against restrictive abortion legislation is better understanding its rhetoric. In a story for Cosmopolitan, reproductive journalist Robin Marty discusses how using the term “late term abortion” hurts and restricts reproductive health access, since it is a medically inaccurate and misleading term mostly used by abortion opponents “to mean anything they want.”

Cover image courtesy of GettyImages.