Here’s why a ban on abortions after 20 weeks is a bad idea


Steve Benen over at The Maddow blog has provided links to a couple of good arguments against banning 20-week abortions.

The first is THIS ONE from Andrew Rosenthal:

The way the Catholic Association mentions “late-term” abortions, you might think the only women who had them were lazy and callous, just waiting around until the last second for no good reason.

But as Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood, told me in an email, nearly 99 percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks; abortions later on often involve rare, severe fetal abnormalities and real threats to a woman’s health. In many cases, women are facing the need to terminate a desired pregnancy, not an unwanted one.

Ms. Richards cited the case of a woman in Nebraska, Danielle Deaver, whose water broke at 22 weeks, depriving her baby of most of the amniotic fluid. “Her doctor told her that the fetus could not develop or survive,” Ms. Richards said. “Despite this, she was forced to live through 10 excruciating days waiting to give birth, because her doctors feared prosecution under her state’s 20-week abortion ban.”

Medical associations oppose these laws, because they are dangerous to the health of women.

Politically, such laws are also dangerous because each decrease in the legal period for abortion is followed by another. “And then it’s on to a ban at 12 or 6 weeks — before a woman even knows she’s pregnant,” Ms. Richards said.


The second is THIS LETTER to Texas state legislators from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

While we can agree to disagree about abortion on ideological grounds, we must draw a hard line against insidious legislation that threatens women’s health like Texas HB2 (House Bill 2) and SB1 (Senate Bill 1). That’s why we’re speaking to the false and misleading underlying assumptions of this and other legislation like it: These bills are as much about interfering with the practice of medicine and the relationship a patient has with her physician as they are about restricting women’s access to abortion. The fact is that these bills will not help protect the health of any woman in Texas. Instead, these bills will harm women’s health in very clear ways.

We’re setting the record straight, loudly and unequivocally, with these simple messages to all politicians: Get Out of Our Exam Rooms.

Physicians from all specialties insist that there must be only two people in our exam rooms: the patient and the doctor. The sanctity of the patient-physician relationship is central to good medicine, a critical tenet embraced by ACOG and other medical societies such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Physicians.


Women must have access to all needed health care—from mammograms to prenatal visits to reproductive care—based on scientific facts, not political ideology. ACOG opposes Texas HB2 and SB1, which jeopardize women’s health care and interfere with medical practice and the patient-physician relationship. Politicians are not elected to, nor should they, legislate the practice of medicine or step foot into our exam rooms.





  1. expdoc

    “Politicians are not elected to, nor should they, legislate the practice of medicine or step foot into our exam rooms.”

    You would not be surprised to learn that ACOG opposed the ACA.

  2. Link? Source?

  3. expdoc

    http://www.acog.org/~/media/Departments/Government Relations and Outreach/2012PACContributionForm.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20121121T0225018349

    ACOG reluctantly opposed the ACA. The bill contained many worthwhile provisions, including eliminating pre-existing conditions
    and guaranteeing women’s health coverage. However, the bill did not repeal the SGR or include meaningful medical liability
    reform, plus it created the Independent Payment Advisory Board. ACOG’s Executive Board was clear that meaningful health
    reform had to work for practicing physicians, too.

  4. expdoc

    By the way, your friend Sarah Palin refers to the Independent Payment Advisory Board as the death panel.

  5. doc: Your link is a dry hole.

  6. kristin

    WOW! Do you really believe Planned Parenthood? They lied to me multiple times, to which I was backed by my doctor, but they continued to lie to my face (I guess her 2 year RN degree was somehow better than my doctors…but, I guess naive people will believe anything they are told in a press conference or in writing.

  7. Brian Opsahl

    Funny Doc doesn’t want legislators in his exam rooms..but it’s ok for Govenor Walker to probe the inside of a women against her Doctors wishes and hers….what a hypocrite to the tenth degree…!!!

  8. expdoc


    I didn’t say either of those things. Legislators are already in exam rooms and they are only going to be more so in the coming years.

    As my father-in-law used to say “He who pays, says.”

    Most patients would be surprised to learn the degree to which government rules and regulations already control what care is delivered and how it is delivered.

    Some of these regulations are good, some of them are nonsensical, some of them are frankly harmful.

  9. mark sauer

    the gov’t doesn’t need access to the exam rooms…………….they get all they need listening to your phone calls…….

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