Should the U.S. Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks of Pregnancy (With Exceptions)? (S. 2311)
Do you support or oppose this bill?
What is S. 2311?
(Updated December 29, 2020)
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions after 20 weeks would be allowed if the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
If enacted, doctors who violate the bill's requirements would face a fine, up to five years in prison, or both. A woman who receives a prohibited abortion could not be prosecuted for violating this legislation. The bill defines abortion as any medication or procedure “to intentionally kill the unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.”
Argument in favor
Unborn babies can feel pain and abortions that occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy are cruel and should be outlawed except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life.
This bill would place undue restrictions on womens’ right to make their own reproductive health decisions. There shouldn’t be a time limit on the right to an abortion.
Pregnant women in the U.S.; pro- and anti-abortion activist groups; and healthcare providers offering abortions.
Cost of S. 2311
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.
In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced this bill to protect unborn life 20 weeks after fertilization:
“There are only seven countries that allow wholesale abortions at the 20-week period, including China and North Korea. The United States should not be in that club. I don’t believe abortion, five months into pregnancy, makes us a better nation. America is at her best when she’s standing up for the least among us and the sooner we pass this legislation into law, the better. We are on the right side of history.”
The Trump administration released a statement in support of the House version this legislation, saying that if Congress passes it in its current form President Donald Trump's advisors would recommend he sign the bill into law.
Pro-choice groups denounced this legislation as an affront to a woman's right to obtain an abortion. Planned Parenthood tweeted that the bill's House counterpart is "unpopular" and "unconstitutional" with NARAL adding it's part of a plan by "anti-choice House Republicans" to "ban abortion outright".
Of Note: According to the Guttmacher Institute there are 24 states that impose abortion bans after a certain number of weeks, 17 of which ban abortion at about 20 weeks post-fertilization or its equivalent of 22 weeks on the grounds that the fetus can feel pain. Only the U.S., Canada, North Korea, China, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Netherlands allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy according to Politifact.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: Ambernectar 13 via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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