Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) has introduced a bill that will ban abortion after the 20th week of a pregnancy in the United States.
The bill, also called the D.C. Pain Capable Unborn Protection Act, originally would have banned abortion at 20 weeks gestation only in the District of Columbia. However, Franks decided to expand the bill nationwide following the murder conviction of Kermit Gosnell, a rogue doctor who performed illegal abortions in Pennsylvania. Franks has introduced the bill in previous sessions of Congress, but it was defeated.
Senator Eleanor Holmes Norton, who was scheduled to testify on the bill before it was expanded nationwide, issued the following statement,
"As we have always argued, the intent of my anti-choice colleagues in pursuing a D.C.-only abortion ban bill was to use the District of Columbia to get a federal imprimatur in their effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, and they thought they could do so in a stealth way by using the District. However, our efforts, together with our pro-choice allies nationwide, to highlight the nationwide intent and implications of the D.C. bill brought my anti-choice colleagues unwanted national attention, leaving them unable to hide behind the D.C. bill. Senator Mike Lee, the Senate sponsor of the D.C. abortion ban bill said he could not support a nationwide abortion ban bill because, ironically, it would violate 'states' rights,' so there could still be a unique threat to the District. With the help of women nationwide, we defeated the D.C. abortion ban bill on the House floor last Congress. Now that the Franks bill will expressly target all U.S. women, we can expect an even stronger national response to this attack on women's health."
Though Franks cites the case of Gosnell as the reason behind the ban, pro-choice activists argue that this type of law would lead to more cases like Gosnell. President of NARAL Pro-choice America, Ilyse Hogue said in a statement "Gosnell was a criminal whose activities were made possible by the very kind of anti-choice policies Franks is advancing. By cutting funding, reducing access and imposing unnecessary restrictions on safe and legal abortion, anti-choice politicians have forced women - especially low-income women - into the waiting hands of unscrupulous operators like Kermit Gosnell. We will fight this senseless attack and protect the rights of all women."
The bill will be read before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on Thursday. The subcommittee is chaired by Representative Franks.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 5/17/2013; NARAL 5/17/2013; Statement of Eleanor Holmes Norton 5/17/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .