The New Pro Life Movement has been critical, in the past, of certain attempts to legislate against abortion that would have inadvertently targeted and punished already vulnerable women. And we have been criticized, in turn, for focusing on reducing abortion on the demand side, rather than the supply side.
However, we are enthusiastic in our support of any legislation in defense of the unborn that doesn’t come with intersectional injustices attached.
This bill amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.
A violator is subject to criminal penalties—a fine, up to five years in prison, or both.
The bill provides exceptions for an abortion: (1) that is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or (2) when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. A physician who performs or attempts to perform an abortion under an exception must comply with specified requirements.
A woman who undergoes a prohibited abortion may not be prosecuted for violating or conspiring to violate the provisions of this bill.
Now, considering how few abortions happen after twenty weeks, this bill would probably not have a huge effect on the overall abortion rate. But even a single life saved matters, especially when we consider that the protection here is of unborn humans capable of experiencing pain, and very close to the point of viability. Even for those who do not recognize personhood in the unborn at this early stage, it seems reasonable from a broad pro-life standpoint to avoid harm to any living thing capable of suffering.
This is a sensible legislation, and one which should not be opposed by those on the pro-choice side who still hold to the “safe, legal, and rare” mantra. It’s a law that would bring us in line with other developed nations which have much more strict abortion laws than ours.
We need to have humane laws such as this in place, and we need also to continue to work towards a just society that offers women legitimate choices, rather than creating and exacerbating situations of crisis in which abortion looks like the only way out.