Opinions On The 20-Week Abortion Ban From 2016 Presidential Candidates Show They Stay Along Party Lines
The House of Representatives will vote Wednesday on a revised version of the 20-week abortion ban that Republicans proposed in January. Not surprisingly, the ban is supported mostly by Republicans, and similar bans have been proposed around the U.S. — some of them by 2016 presidential candidates. Some 2016 candidates support 20-week abortion bans, some don't, and some have yet to speak about the issue.
There could be a few problems with the ban that might affect its support. First, in order for rape victims to get around the ban, they have to seek counseling or medical care within 48 hours of the procedure. But they can't receive that counseling or care at an abortion facility. The ban also adds medical requirements that will make any remaining legal 20-week abortions more expensive for doctors to perform and more traumatizing and humiliating for the mother, critics allege.
Specifically, critics believe the requirement for medical care or counseling 48 hours before the intended abortion looks a lot like mandatory waiting periods in other states, which often give mothers inaccurate, biased information about abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Further, the ban will require a doctor trained in neonatal resuscitation to be present for each procedure, should he think there's a chance he can revive the fetus. The mother will also be required to sign a consent form saying that she is aware that the fetus "could" be revived.
Support for these kinds of bans is pretty easily divided in the 2015 presidential candidate pool. Almost all of the Republican candidates have supported 20-week bans in some form or have said that they would support a 20-week ban. Democrats are a bit more iffy about the issue. Some of them just haven't addressed it at all, while others seem to blanket statement that they are pro-choice in any form.
Hillary Clinton Just Recently Spoke Out Against It
Democrat and Former Secretary of State, Clinton had not recently voiced her stance on abortions after 20 weeks, according to OnTheIssues.org. But Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor Maya Harris released a press release Wednesday afternoon with a statement about the House vote on the new federal ban:
This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, which has protected a woman's constitutional right to privacy for over forty years. The bill puts women's health and rights at risk, undermines the role doctors play in health care decisions, burdens survivors of sexual assault, and is not based on sound science. It also follows a dangerous trend we are witnessing across the country. In just the first three months of 2015, more than 300 bills have been introduced in state legislatures — on top of the nearly 30 measures introduced in Congress — that restrict access to abortion. Politicians should not interfere with personal medical decisions, which should be left to a woman, her family and her faith, in consultation with her doctor or health care provider.
Marco Rubio Is "Very Supportive" Of This Kind Of Legislation
Republican Sen. Rubio from Florida was the lead sponsor of the federal 20-week abortion ban when he helped draft it in its original form last July, according to Politico. He said he was "very supportive" of it, and even told Politico that he and his colleagues were working hard on it to make sure the language was just right. And then they came up with the mandatory reporting rule...
Carly Fiorina Says A Ban "Isn't Extreme"
The former Hewlett Packard CEO and Republican candidate wasn't happy last year when a majority of the Republican party backed down on the ban when it was proposed in the House in January, according to The Hill. There was a stipulation in the January version of the bill that said rape victims could only seek 20-week abortions if they had filed their alleged rape with the police. Many female and moderate Republicans said they would vote against it because of the effects that rule could have on rape reporting, which is already low. She told The Hill:
I think it's really disappointing that that bill was not brought to the floor for a vote. I am on board with that bill and that ban and so are the vast majority of American people and the vast majority of women in this nation. This isn't something that's extreme as Democrats want to cast it.
It's extreme given the fact that it's technically unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, according to RH Reality Check. It's also worth noting that abortions after 20 weeks account for about 1.2 percent of all abortions performed in the U.S. every year, according to Mother Jones.
Rand Paul Cosponsored Multiple 20-Week Bans
Congress.gov has records that show Republican Sen. Paul, from Kentucky, cosponsored two, earlier forms of the "pain-capable" abortion bill in 2012 and 2013, which the House is voting on Wednesday with the same "fetal pain" rhetoric that scientists have said they don't agree with, according to The New York Times. Paul said he's anti-abortion, and has straw-manned arguments for 20-week abortions, saying that Democrats agree with abortions "up until the moment of birth."
Ted Cruz Said 20-Week Abortions "Pose Dangers To The Mother's Health"
Republican Sen. Cruz, from Texas, co-sponsored the first version of the federal ban, according to Susan B. Anthony List documents. He said we need to show "true compassion" for the unborn child and expressed worries, which aren't founded in science, about the health of mothers after 20-week abortions. But, the bill didn't specify what health problems women could suffer after 20-week abortions.
Ben Carson Urged Congress To Support The Former Ban
In a Facebook post in March, Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and Republican candidate, urged Congress to support the original federal ban because of the "value and sanctity of life." He used a lot of Biblical rhetoric about children, which is typical for him:
Extending, preserving and maintaining the quality of life of all individuals has never been more important than it is now. ... Children are our most precious resource and our efforts to protect them should know no bounds.
Mike Huckabee Pledged To Ban 20-Week Abortions If Elected President
Former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee is among the 10 Republicans who vowed to pass a federal ban if elected president, according to Politico. Huckabee also supported the former version of the ban, according to Susan B. Anthony List documents, citing an unborn child's right to life.
Bernie Sanders Hasn't Specified, But His Track Record Is Pro-Choice
Sen. Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, has a practical approach. In a 2012 piece he wrote for The Huffington Post, he said the right to an abortion "must remain a decision for the woman, her family, and physician to make, not the government." According to Ontheissues.org, Sanders has voted "no" on a 2003 bill that would have banned partial-birth abortions, the anti-abortion name given to abortions after 20 weeks. He's also voted against bills that tried to make it a crime if a fetus was harmed during a criminal act, a bill that would have restricted the interstate transport of minors to get abortions, and a bill that would have said unborn children could qualify for the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
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