Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) on the passing of H.R. 36:
Today, the House of Representatives once again passed a blatantly unconstitutional nationwide ban on abortion care after 20 weeks, which is a threat to women’s lives and health, and at odds with medical standards of care.
This bill is another attempt by anti-choice politicians to appease their base after multiple efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have recently failed. Congress should not pass laws that disregard the Constitution or the real circumstances and complications women can face during pregnancy.
There are many reasons why a woman might need abortion care after 20 weeks, and she should be able to make that decision with those she trusts. Instead, this bill would deny abortion care to a woman even if her health care provider determined that an abortion was her best medical option. It would also force a woman to wait until severe medical conditions became life threatening before she could obtain the abortion care she needed.
Furthermore, this bill would impose nationwide federal criminal penalties, including five years in jail, on medical professionals if they provide abortion care in violation of this bill. These harsh penalties would have the effect of chilling the provision of abortion care in the United States, which is in fact one of the goals of the bill’s supporters.
The decision to seek abortion care is one that is best made by a woman in consultation with her health care provider and those she chooses to involve. Politicians should be protecting, not jeopardizing women’s lives and health.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care, which promotes health and justice for women.
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