As of Nov. 1, the United States has once again divided itself in the argument of pro-life versus pro-choice. However, this isn’t the first time our government has tried to place restrictions on a woman’s right to abortion. In fact, just last month the House of Representatives passed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated that “it will protect those children who science has proven can feel pain, and give them a chance to grow and live full and happy lives.”
The new bill being discussed here would shorten the currently allowed 20 weeks to six, keeping a woman from getting an abortion unless medically necessary. With this new bill, 93 percent of abortions would be banned based on CDC statistics. According to Planned Parenthood, most doctors don’t allow a woman to get an abortion until five to six weeks after their missed period, making the possibility of abortions in this time period slim to none unless you take an abortifacient in the comfort of your own home.
If this bill is made into law, doctors will no longer be able to legally perform an abortion after six weeks, or before then, if a fetal heartbeat is detected. According to a Huffington Post article by American Board of Medicine certified OBGYN Jennifer Gunter, this so-called fetal heartbeat is actually a fetal pole, “a thickening at the end of the yolk sac and contains the earliest ultrasound evidence of cardiac activity.” Gunter state at that point there is just a “4 mm thickening next to a yolk sac” and physicians don’t count on the use of the fetal pole for an accurate heartbeat since it’s not seen as one. With this explanation, the heartbeat protection bill technically doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
In the text of this bill it is stated that a doctor who detects a fetal heartbeat and performs the abortion anyway will be sentenced to prison for up to five years and lose their medical license unless the abortion was necessary to save the mother from some physical harm. The mother, however, will not face any backlash or liability since it is not up to them to decide whether there is a heartbeat. Written in the bill, as said by Congress’ website, is the provision that if the abortion is performed because it is necessary to save the mother, the doctor will go to trial to plead their case and prove this is the reason. Therefore, even if the abortion is necessary, a court can still find the doctor at fault and they could be imprisoned just for doing their job.
This bill doesn’t include an amendment on rape cases, stating only that when the mother is in physical harm from the pregnancy can she receive an abortion. With this law, women who have been raped and become pregnant will most likely have to carry the child the full nine months and give birth to a child that was quite literally forced onto them.
Along with the cases of rape, many abortions performed right now are done for women ages 18 to 24, according to the Johnston Archives. That is the age range of most of our classmates here on campus, as well as other universities in the country. Unwanted pregnancy is already stressful enough, and to expect college students to handle that along with school, with no option to end the pregnancy should they wish, is untenable.
This law strictly prohibits a woman’s right to choose what she wants to do with her body and how she sees her future.
If this law gets passed, it will affect the entire country, making it almost impossible to get an abortion if you want one. Women will be set back to the time of scheduling secret procedures and doctors will be forced to choose between what is right and what gets them a paycheck. Banning abortion doesn’t lead to less abortions, only unsafe ones. And since this is the case, why would anyone want it to pass?