Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, led a group GOP senators to introduce legislation to ban abortions after 15-weeks of pregnancy. This highlights a new focus of anti-abortion lawmakers.
Republicans, including Senator GrahamMany people have argued that abortion should be handled at the state level. Abortion advocates have known for a long time that Republicans would be the best choice. would attempt to pass a national abortion banOnce Roe v. WadeSupreme Court overturned it. Within hours, the court had handed down its opinion. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s HealthRepublican legislators were elected in 2004. publicly discussing their interestSupport a national ban on abortion.
The law proposed this week by Senator Graham would criminalize the provision of abortion after 15 weeks with very narrow exceptions for rape, incest involving a minor, or substantial threat to the pregnant person’s physical health. There would be no exceptions to severe fetal abnormalities or those that are incompatible with life. Abortion providers who perform abortions beyond 15 weeks of gestation would be subject to a maximum five-year sentence, fines, or both.
People who terminate their pregnancies — and the parents of minors who terminate their pregnancies — would also be able to pursue civil suits against their abortion providers under the proposed legislation. This strategy is used by anti-abortion politicians both to feign concern for abortion patientsFalsely arguing that abortion providers are often regrettable, they target them with increased legal risk. Abortion providers often have no other choice than to comply with such laws. purchase extra costly liability insuranceThat other health care specialties don’t require.
At Tuesday’s press conference, flanked by representatives of anti-abortion groups including March for Life and the National Right to Life Committee, Senator Graham justified his 15-week abortion ban with unscientific claims, spreading the lie that fetuses can sense physical pain beginning at 15 weeks. According to the American College of Obstericians and Gynecologists, scientific evidence has “conclusively established” that a human fetus cannot experience pain “until after at least 24-25 weeks.”
The proposed bill uses non-medical term “late-term abortion” to describe abortions performed after 15 weeks — a usage that notably diverges from the conventional use of the phrase by anti-abortion politicians and groups to describe the medical termination of a pregnancy between 21 and 24 weeks.
Evidence suggests that Senator Graham’s bill would negatively impact the physical, mental and socioeconomic well-being of abortion seekers. The landmark research study of UCSF researchers, the Turnaway Study found that women who were denied abortions due to a gestational limitation had significantly higher odds of having an abortion. worse socioeconomic and physical and mental health outcomesComparatively to those who received care for abortion.
Senator Graham stated that a 15-week ban was possible at his press conference bring U.S. abortion policy “in line with other developed nations,”A misleading claim that obscures the fact that most of the countries he cited as examples, exceptions for those seeking abortion care after the legal limit are generally permittedOn the broad grounds that the pregnant woman’s health or socioeconomic well being are protected.
Due to the current Democratic majority, the Senate will not vote on Graham’s bill ahead of November’s midterm elections. If Republicans win control of Congress, however, it is possible to vote on a nationwide ban on abortion (though it would probably not be). vetoed by Biden). This legislation would be disastrous for abortion seekers, health providers, and their communities, particularly communities of color or poor people.
It wasn’t long ago that most Democratic politicians were oblivious to warnings. Roe v. WadeIt was under threat. Even though it isn’t politically feasible at the moment it is crucial to understand that antiabortion organizations and politicians will continue to work towards a nationwide abortion ban. In a demonstration of the anti-abortion right’s tendency to employ deliberate long-term strategies in order to realize their objectives, Senator Graham suggested at his press conference Tuesday, “if we stay on this and keep talking about it maybe in a decade this will be law.”
Reproductive Care is in Crisis
The United States is already in a crisis situation for abortion care. In restricted states, providers are trying to provide care in an ever-changing legislative environment. Legal concerns have led to the closure or suspension of services by abortion funds. Prominent reproductive healthcare organizations have abandoned patients, providers and funds in restricted states, and abortion advocates are increasingly frustrated by the Biden administration’s lack of action.
Nevertheless, there are still some reproductive health care clinics available in less-restricted states. struggling to manage the increased demandAbortion patients who travel from outside the state are causing an increase in wait times for appointments. Nationwide, there are numerous practical and financial obstacles to accessing abortion care. These include a lack of insurance coverage, the necessity to arrange for time off work and childcare, as well as the inability of many people to pay the required fees. ubiquity and aggressive tactics of fake abortion clinics already delay patients’ access to abortion care.
A national ban on abortion could increase the risk of criminalization for pregnant women based upon their medical conditions and actions during their pregnancy. A recent report by If/When/How, a reproductive legal advocacy group, found that this was the case. people have been investigated for pregnancy loss in 26 statesEven though self-managed abortion is not prohibited in a few states, it is still legal.
Pregnant people who are already at a higher risk of criminalization — in particular poor people, immigrants, Black people and other people of color — have been jailed for substance use during pregnancy, for self-managing abortions, or for unintentional miscarriages. As extralegal abortions become more common, pregnant women who are most at risk will be criminalized and jailed. Alabama recent arrests Ashley BanksTexas Lizelle HerreraThis graphic shows the devastating effects of increased policing on pregnant bodies.
Senator Graham’s proposed bill effectively puts abortion on the ballot at the upcoming midterm elections, but voting alone is far from sufficient to defend abortion access. The majority of Americans are opposed to abortion bans,It is vital that we use the current political momentum to create a mass movement to expand and protect abortion access across the country.
We can’t wait for Democratic lawmakers to address this state of emergency. We must organize our workplaces and communities to demand reproductive justice. We must also advocate for providers and patients, especially those who live in hostile or precarious circumstances. We will not and can’t accept any restrictions or bans on abortions. These restrictions and bans coerce and forcibly force people to continue their pregnancies.
It is the community’s responsibility to take action to protect abortion access. Individuals can make a recurring donation to an abortion fund or volunteer to escort patients to clinics. This will help alleviate the burden on the country’s overloaded reproductive health system.