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How Banning Abortion After 20 Weeks Endangers Women

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Yesterday, a House subcommittee voted to expand Arizona Rep. Trent Franks' (R) bill which would ban abortion for women after 20 weeks nationwide.

We can't decide which is more disturbing: that anti-choice politicians like Rep. Franks don't understand how dangerous banning abortion care is for women, or that they do understand and just don't care.

What anti-choice politicians like Rep. Franks are refusing to accept is the reality that some families face the difficult decision whether to end a much-wanted pregnancy when a health crisis arises.

Anti-choice politicians want you to believe that there's no reason a woman would need abortion care after 20 weeks, but, in fact, some women do.

Dana is one of these women. When Dana went to her 29-week sonogram, she learned that there were grave complications with her pregnancy. The fetus suffered from multiple brain abnormalities and it was uncertain whether the pregnancy would survive to term. Hear her story:

Dana is not alone in her experience.

In El Salvador, a woman named Beatriz made international news when she found out that she was pregnant, but with her serious health conditions Beatriz would likely die if she carried the pregnancy to term. She was diagnosed with a severe fetal anomaly and told that the fetus would not survive. Beatriz was forced to choose between her life and illegal abortion care. Ultimately, Beatriz was allowed to terminate the pregnancy, but it took an intervention from the country's minister of health after Beatriz's appeal was rejected by the Salvadoran Supreme Court.

Anti-choice officials apparently can't be bothered to feel compassion for women in these tragic circumstances.

When a federal judge in Arizona challenged the state's 20-week abortion ban because it could forbid a woman from getting abortion care even if her doctor discovers a severe fetal anomaly, the solicitor general callously dismissed the argument, saying: "That's the woman's problem. She should have made that decision earlier."

Banning abortion after 20 weeks endangers women and ignores the reality that even a much-wanted pregnancy can go wrong. That is why it must be left to women, their families, and their doctors to make reproductive-health decisions - not anti-choice politicians like Rep. Trent Franks.

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