Abortion opponents had something else to celebrate this week: While Trump was making it harder for women to keep from getting pregnant, the US House of Representatives was making it harder for them to terminate unplanned pregnancies, by passing a ban on abortions after 20 weeks.
Did they cravenly exploit the shooting in Las Vegas to promote their perennial proposal to chip away at women’s reproductive freedom? You bet! From ThinkProgress:
In the aftermath of two recent acts of gun violence, the House GOP caucus has been inspired not to pursue gun control legislation that could prevent future mass shootings, but instead to crack down on reproductive rights.
“As we mourn the lives lost in Las Vegas this week, and welcome Whip Scalise back to Capitol Hill, we are reminded just how precious life is,” the GOP caucus writes in a blog post about new anti-abortion legislation approved by the House on Tuesday. “This message weighed heavily on the hearts of House Republicans as we spoke of the potential of life — especially lives cut short through abortion.”
The post goes on to discuss Republicans’ motivations for supporting the so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protections Act, which, as CNN reports, “would criminalize abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for instances where the life of the mother is at risk and in cases involving rape or incest.”
The bill was approved by a largely party-line 237-189 vote in the House on Tuesday night. Though it has a harder path forward in the Senate, President Donald Trump has pledged to sign it if the legislation makes it to his desk.
Vox also reported on the 20-week ban, digging down on a claim proponents often use to justify such restrictions: That fetuses can “feel pain” at 20 weeks. The ban is called “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” because of course it is.
In reality, Vox reports, there is strong scientific consensus that fetuses are not capable of experiencing pain until much later in a pregnancy. (“Twenty weeks” defines a point about halfway through a pregnancy, but includes the two weeks before the pregnancy actually begins). According to an expert quoted by Vox, “There’s actually conclusive evidence that shows that the neurologic structures in a fetus aren’t completely laid down and working yet until much further along in pregnancy, we think even the third trimester.” Twenty weeks, this expert says, “is just an arbitrary limit set in place by politicians that has no medical or scientific backing.” You don’t say.
Every kid deserves a chance to have a choice at life. Every child deserves a chance to have a choice at life. Every baby deserves a chance to have a choice at life. And every parent should be supported in their responsibility and commitment to raise that child.
House Speaker Paul Ryan thanked Murphy for his “many years of tireless work” before he was ushered away to the Hypocrites Hall of Fame.