On Tuesday the House of Representatives passed HR 36, the "Pain-Capable Unborn Children Protection Act," which would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The only exceptions are to protect the life of the mother or if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest that had already been reported to the police. Healthcare providers who violate this law would be susceptible to fines or up to 5 years in prison.
Here's the thing about abortions, though: Roughly 99% of them happen BEFORE 21 weeks, according to Planned Parenthood. When they do occur later in the pregnancy, it's often under complex medical circumstances. These include severe fetal abnormalities, which are hard to detect before 18 or 20 week anatomy scans, but which can result in missing bones, massive organ failure, and an inability to breathe upon birth. Late-term abortions can also be to prevent serious (but not life-threatening) risks to the mother's health. As such, it is very rarely a decision made lightly and truly exists as an option of last resort.
What's more, Republicans have based the 20-week abortion ban on junk science: The idea underpinning the 20-week ban is that that is supposedly the point when fetuses develop the ability to experience pain. However, a recent review of more than 2,000 studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no evidence of this.
Even if you're generally pro-life, you can still recognize the medical necessity of late-term abortion for difficult situations where there are no good choices; where the choice is to terminate a pregnancy early or to watch your baby die in agony minutes or hours after being born. Late-term abortion is not a decision to be made lightly, but if you ever find yourself in the situation of making that decision – and I hope you never do – it can be a great kindness to have that option available.
WHO TO CALL:
Senators Cassidy and Kennedy
Senator Bill Cassidy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-5824 and METAIRIE OFFICE: (504) 838-0130 (NOTE: If you can't get through to Metairie, try one of the other offices, such as Monroe: (318) 324-2111, Baton Rouge: (225) 929-7711; Lafayette: (337) 261-1400; Shreveport: (318) 798-3215; Lake Charles: (337) 493-5398, or Alexandria: Phone: (318) 448-7176)
Senator John Kennedy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-4623 and NEW ORLEANS OFFICE: (504) 581-6190 (Other offices include; Lafayette: (337) 269-5980; Monroe: (318) 361-1489; Alexandria: (318) 445-2892; Baton Rouge: (225) 926-8033; and Shreveport: (318) 670-5192)
Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Be concise - the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer - they don't set policy. If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal -- call back later!
Hi, my name is [Your Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from].
I'm calling to urge the Senator to vote NO on H.R. 36, the 20-week abortion ban passed by the House. Only about 1% of all abortions take place after 20 weeks, and when they do, it's often under very complex medical circumstances. The decision to have a late-term abortion is a heart-wrenching one that depends greatly on a family's individual circumstances, and I believe these decisions should remain between the mother and her doctor, without the government getting involved. [IF YOU HAVE A STORY, PLEASE SHARE IT]
Thank you for your time and your hard work answering the phones. Stay safe out there.
This call is courtesy of Metairie Indivisible.