U.S. Senate Introduces 20-Week Federal Abortion Ban

Law Would Include 48-hour Waiting Period for Rape Survivors

June 11, 2015 2:45 pm

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NEW YORK – Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) today introduced federal legislation in the U.S. Senate that would ban abortions nationwide after 20 weeks with few exceptions.

The Senate bill, like the recently-passed House bill, places additional burdens on rape and incest survivors seeking abortions under its extremely narrow exceptions. It requires a minor to report her rape to authorities in order to get an abortion. It also requires a woman over 18 who has been raped to seek medical care or counseling at least 48 hours prior to getting an abortion, from a physician other than her abortion provider, causing additional cost and delay.

“This bill is utterly without compassion or concern for real women’s lives,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “The end goal of these extreme politicians is clear – this is the first step toward banning all abortions. 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.”

Additionally, the bill provides no exceptions for a woman who needs an abortion to protect her health, because she is experiencing severe complications with a wanted pregnancy, or for a woman who was forced to delay her abortion because she had to struggle to save money to pay for it. The bill effectively bans abortion for a woman who needs it at this pre-viability point in pregnancy.

The Supreme Court has consistently held that politicians can’t ban abortions that would take place before a fetus is viable. This bill, and others like it, violate that longstanding precedent and take personal, private decisions out of the hands of women and families and give them to politicians.

Hundreds of abortion restrictions have been introduced by state legislatures with the goal of restricting access to abortion. In the first quarter of 2015 alone, more than 330 abortion restrictions were introduced.

New polling shows that most Americans identify as pro-choice and that seven in 10 Americans want a woman who has decided to have an abortion to be able to get it without additional burdens.

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