Backwards Priorities: Judiciary Committee Ignores Supreme Court, Will Spend Hours Attacking Abortion Access Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Failed 20 Week Ban
Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433
WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Action Fund issued the following statement condemning the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing this morning restricting access to safe, legal abortion.
Statement from Dawn Laguens, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Apparently Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell are too busy playing doctor to uphold their constitutional duty to consider a Supreme Court nominee when named. Instead, Republican leadership wants to waste taxpayer time on a rejected piece of legislation that leading doctors flatly oppose. If Congress were serious about improving women’s health they would start by addressing the Zika virus and ensuring a fully functioning third branch of government. It’s time to get our priorities straight and quit forcing this obstructionist agenda on America.”
This extreme and dangerous bill, sponsored by failed presidential candidate, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), would restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion and tie doctor’s hands. Doctors across the country have voiced opposition to similar pieces of legislation because they prevent them from giving their patients the best health care possible in an individual situation.
Republican leadership’s obstruction: Failing to uphold their constitutional duty
The House of Representatives forced through a harmful 20-week ban last May (but not before the billdivided Republicans). In September,it tanked in the Senate. While they continue to attempt to force through unpopular bills, Republican leaders remain committed to blocking the basic functions of government and democracy.
Led by Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Republican leaders have outright refused to uphold their constitutional duty and hold a hearing on a SCOTUS nominee- obstructionism that Americans of all political leanings reject. Members of their caucus have gone a step further and stated they would not even meet with a potential nominee. Yet, so far in the 114th Congress there have been 21 anti-women's health votes.
Why 20-week bans are dangerous and medically unnecessary:
While women should never have to justify their personal medical decisions, the reality is that abortion later in pregnancy is very rare and often happens under complex circumstances — the kind of situations where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available.
Nearly 99 percent of abortions in the U.S. occur before 21 weeks of gestation. Data, including from the CDC, show that abortion has over a 99 percent safety record. And studies show women experience serious complications less than one percent of the time.
Specifically, Sen.Graham’s bill would force women who have already been through the trauma of rape to wait 48 hours to get an abortion, and it would force them to see two different doctors, for no medical reason.
CEO of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), opposes the bill. Dr. Lawrence stated: “There is no science behind his bill — sadly, just bias,” and that medically inaccurate claims made by politicians have been “repeatedly debunked by science.”
In women’s own words…
April, Metuchen, New Jersey: At 18 weeks, April and her husband found out that their baby had lethal skeletal dysplasia. He would never be able to breathe on his own. If she carried the pregnancy to term and he was born alive, he would die shortly after of suffocation. April hoped the news wasn’t true, so she requested more tests to confirm the diagnosis, which took two weeks. At 21 weeks, she had an abortion. A video of April’s personal story can be found here.
April’s abortion took place in June, 2013. In October 2014, she gave birth to a healthy girl.
Chelsea, Olympia, Washington: Chelsea’s baby was diagnosed at 22 weeks with multiple heart defects including transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary atresia, and ventricular septal defect. He also had DiGeorge syndrome, a genetic disorder that caused not only his heart defects but would have caused many other problems for him as well. She and her husband decided to have an abortion after consulting with a team of medical specialists, as well as a genetics counselor. They ended the pregnancy at 24 weeks.
Chelsea’s abortion took place in 2008. Since then, she has given birth to two healthy girls, currently ages 5 and 3.
Julie, Rockville, Maryland: Julie’s doctor told her and her husband that their son’s brain had a serious abnormality, a diagnosis that they confirmed with tests, more ultrasounds, and an MRI. If the baby survived birth, he would never speak, walk, or have conscious thoughts based upon what had developed in his brain. Julie and her husband decided to end the pregnancy, and the soonest they could get the appointment was at 21 weeks.
Julie’s abortion took place in 2009. She already had a healthy child born before the abortion, and she went on to experience two additional healthy pregnancies, giving birth to two more children in 2011 and 2013.
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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.