Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
— Rep. Trent Franks (@RepTrentFranks) May 11, 2015
The GOP-led Congress is back with another attempt at banning abortion at 20 weeks. This one is supposed to be an improvement over the one rejected by a few female GOP Reps a couple of months ago over a lack of exceptions for rape and incest. The new version does contain those exceptions but the woman would be required to receive counseling 48 hours prior to the abortion (from a provider approved by the anti-choicers, natch). Gosh, thanks. LifeNews.com explains how the exceptions will be written so as not to leave loopholes for lying harlots to exploit.
After months of wrangling over language, with Ellmers and some other members of Congress siding with her for language that was a more expansive rape exception, House Republicans have finalized the language of the bill in a way that has the support of Ellmers and her colleagues, the backing of pro-life groups and in a manner that should result in a strong pro-life vote that paves the way for Senate consideration.
According to pro-life sources who spoke with LifeNews, the rape exception language will be airtight by requiring some sort of documented medical treatment or counseling 48 hours prior to the abortion (so hopefully the mother has a further chance to weigh abortion alternatives). In addition, such treatment or counseling must be provided by physicians or counselors that are outside of the abortion industry. In cases of rape or incest of a minor, the abuse must first be reported to either social service or law enforcement.
LifeSite also makes clear how anti-choicers are playing their trump card, polls showing majorities of Americans opposing abortion after 20 weeks (particularly if the questions are led with anti-choice garbage “science”) really hard.
A national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger. Only 30% said they would oppose such a law.
A November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans support legislation limiting abortions after 20 weeks, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats.
It is a testament to the effectiveness of the anti-choice movement and the way that their rhetoric has dominated the discussion about abortion. I doubt most of the respondents to polls realize that women like this one will be caught up in and put in horrifying no-win predicaments by blanket 20 week bans. Instead they likely think these bans will only apply to irresponsible skanks who, for no reason, wait until they’re at least five months pregnant to terminate. It doesn’t work that way but it’s difficult to explain that to people who don’t pay much attention to the anti-choice movement (and that’s most people).
“Fetal pain” is the latest rage in eroding abortion rights and Rep. Franks is furiously hawking that narrative. As with every other anti-choice assertion, it’s a bunch of bullshit, but anti-abortion activists believe that they can use it to dial back the legal standard of viability. Those who think this means going back only to the 20 week limit (found to be so reasonable in polls) might be mistaken, if the language in Franks’ own amendment is any indication (emphasis mine):
(10) The position, asserted by some commentators, that the unborn child remains in a coma-like sleep state that precludes the unborn child experiencing pain is inconsistent with the documented reaction of unborn children to painful stimuli and with the experience of fetal surgeons who have found it necessary to sedate the unborn child with anesthesia to prevent the unborn child from engaging in vigorous movement in reaction to invasive surgery.
(11) Consequently, there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier.
(12) It is the purpose of the Congress to assert a compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.
(13) The compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain is intended to be separate from and independent of the compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage of viability, and neither governmental interest is intended to replace the other.
In other words, fetuses will feel pain whenever anti-choicers decide they do and, once that is enshrined as a legal standard for restricting abortion access, viability will be irrelevant and Roe will be kaput.
Speaking of pain, do you suppose that Trent Franks ever ponders how pregnancy is generally a painful endeavor? Do the various discomforts and (often) excruciating agonies of gestation and delivery visited upon pregnant women enter into his calculations of what the law should be vis a vis pain and forcing women to endure it? Yeah, probably not.
To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”