Em-URGE-ing Voices

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SMH: The 20-Week Ban

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January 20, 2015

On Thursday, January 22, 2015, we will reflect upon the progress made in terms of abortion care policies as we commemorate the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court ruling (7-2) that people have the right to safe abortions in the first trimester of or up until around 22 to 24 of pregnancy. Roe v. Wade established that the decision to get an abortion exists within a “zone of privacy” free from state regulation.

Interestingly enough, the House of Representatives is reviewing The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act bill on January 22, the same day as Roe v. Wade decision. The bill would prevent people from having safe abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy due to “evidence” that fetuses can experience pain 20 weeks after fertilization. The 20-week ban passed the House in 2013, but never came to a Senate vote. How’s that for ironic?

The 20-week ban passed in the House in 2013 attempted to accommodate those who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest. However, it unfairly required that someone had to have substantial proof that they contacted law enforcement before they could exercise their right to abortion access. The shame associated with rape and incest prevents many women and men from confiding in their family and friends let alone the police. In addition, communities color have experienced and been raised to be weary of law enforcement meant to protect citizens.

The 20-week ban does not make any accommodations for fatal fetal anomalies, health risks for the pregnant person, and or psychological and emotional factors that pregnant people may face.

Also, young people are more likely to have low wages,  inflexible hours, and are less likely to have health insurance. These factors make it increasingly difficult to secure the funds and find time to get an abortion. The 20-week ban would place time constraints on women who have the right to determine their lifestyle and well-being. The ban would also place further restrictions on young people in states where parental involvement is legally mandated when a young person seeks abortion care.

The right to abortion care must be protected and respected for we should be empowered to raise families when we are prepared to do so. The 20-week ban is an unconstitutional bill that does not seek to ensure the welfare of citizens.

Rather, its a bill that aims to change the Roe v. Wade decision which ensures abortion rights. This is not a place where politicians should be meddling. This measure puts politicians in charge of important personal medical decisions. Instead, Congress should be working to make the promise of Roe a reality for all and  help us raise healthy families when we are ready.

If you would like to make your voice heard on this issue, take a few moments to call Congress and ask them to vote against this 20 week ban. Go here for all of the instructions.


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