Congress Advances Federal Abortion Ban

May 13, 2015 5:45 pm

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WASHINGTON –The U.S. House of Representatives passed federal legislation today that would ban almost all abortions nationwide starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A previous version of this bill was abruptly pulled from the House floor schedule in January after several Republican women withdrew their support over a requirement that a woman who had been raped report the assault to law enforcement in order to access care.

The current bill, however, maintains that reporting requirement for a minor who is raped. In addition, the bill prevents an adult rape survivor from getting the care she needs unless she makes a separate appointment with a doctor or a counselor and then delays the abortion for 48 hours. This is just one of the burdensome requirements H.R. 36 would impose on women that would make it harder—and in some cases impossible–to access care.

“We can all agree that a woman’s health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “Politicians aren’t medical experts and they shouldn’t be meddling. No matter how we feel about abortion, we can all agree that a woman who has decided to have an abortion shouldn’t face additional hurdles because a politician disagrees with her decision.”

A recent poll found that seven in 10 Americans say they want a woman who has decided to have an abortion to be able to get one without added burdens. Nearly three out of four say they want a woman’s abortion experience to be non-judgmental and supportive.

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