The Senate voted on a 20-week abortion ban Monday and voted against this ban. We must continue to fight for abortion rights despite this win. Abortion is safe, even after 20 weeks. Those who need it, know why they need it and should be trusted to make this decision. Doctors and patients should be the ones to decide medical treatment. Abortion is legal, as provided under the law and there is no reason to reverse this. There is NO medical evidence to establish 20 weeks as a cut-off point. Anti-abortion politicians chose this number arbitrarily to erode abortion access. Many states — including North Carolina — do not allow abortion after 20 weeks. Those who need this procedure must cross state lines at great expense. This ban will not end this procedure. Instead, it will create a system in which poor people are forced to carry pregnancies and rich people cross country lines to terminate. Donald Trump supports this measure.
Indeed, states across the U.S. are already leading the way when it comes to passing 20-week abortion bans. According to The Hill, 20 states have already passed similar bans, with some lawmakers in those states arguing that the bans are necessary because a 2015 study from the New England Journal of Medicinefound that “a small minority of babies” born at 22 weeks were able to survive and faced few health issues. Generally, a fetus is considered viable by doctors at around 24 weeks, according to Rewire.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention — and as reported by Rewire — abortions after 20 weeks in the U.S. are exceedingly rare. In 2009, only 1.3 percent of abortions in the U.S. were performed after 20 weeks gestation. As Rewire further noted, abortions after 20 weeks could be required for a variety of reasons, such as fetal abnormalities (which often cannot be identified until later in a pregnancy) and a woman’s inability to seek an abortion earlier — something becoming more difficult in states where laws are making abortion before 20 weeks increasingly inaccessible as well.