Tomorrow marks the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade. Instead of honoring that legacy of support for women, the U.S. House of Representatives is planning a throwback Thursday, marking the occasion by rolling back women's health with a vote on a federal abortion ban.
The bill, H.R. 36, would ban essentially all abortions after 20 weeks, with little consideration for a woman's individual circumstances and no protection for her health. The president has threated to veto it.
Politicians are not medical experts. We can all agree that a woman's health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions. This isn't an area where politicians should be meddling.
For many women and families, pregnancy is a joyous event. But every situation is different, and none of us can presume to know what complications may arise during a pregnancy, or all the circumstances surrounding a personal decision to continue or end it. A ban on abortion after 20 weeks makes it harder for a woman who is already facing difficult circumstances. We shouldn't deny a woman the ability to make her own decisions in consultation with those she trusts most.
This is an inherently private decision that politicians have no business making.
Furthermore, the bill would bar women whose pregnancies result from rape or minors whose pregnancies result from incest from accessing care unless they report their assault to authorities. This callous requirement demonstrates both serious insensitivity towards survivors and an appalling lack of trust in women, and it may be why two GOP congresswomen have already withdrawn their support for the bill.
To make matters worse, the legislation would turn doctors into criminals by subjecting them to as many as five years imprisonment for providing patients with the compassionate care they need.
When it comes to women's health, this kind of one-size-fits all approach is both harmful and irresponsible. Americans agree that politicians should find better ways to spend their time. Politicians shouldn't be expending time and effort forcing women back in time.
If you agree, call your representative today to let them know that you'll be watching how they vote on H.R. 36.