WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has expressed its opposition to a Congressional bill that would ban abortions after five months gestation, opining that it is an “assault on a woman’s right to choose.”
H.R. 36 is known as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and while some believe that the bill doesn’t go far enough as all abortion should be outlawed, the Obama administration says that the prohibition on abortions after 20 weeks is oppressive.
“The administration strongly opposes H.R. 36, which would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose,” the White House Office of Management and Budget wrote in a memo on Tuesday. “Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor.”
The bill was introduced by Sen. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and has nearly 160 co-sponsors. It is set to go up for a vote in the House on Thursday—the same day marking 42 years since the ruling of Roe v. Wade.
“[T]here is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier,” the bill reads. “It is the purpose of the Congress to assert a compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.”
But the Obama administration disagrees and states that the legislation ignores the autonomy of women.
“Not only is the basis for H.R. 36 scientifically disputed, the bill disregards women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution,” it wrote in its memo.
In addition to expressing opposition to the bill in general, the Obama administration is taking issue with a requirement in the proposed legislation that would mandate women who have been raped and subsequently seek an abortion to report the crime to the police. The government claims that the requirement “demonstrates a complete disregard for the women who experience sexual assault and the barriers they may face in reporting.”
“The administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion,” the Office of Management and Budget added. “At the same time, the administration is committed to the protection of women’s health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make.”
“If the president were presented with this legislation, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto this bill,” it said.
The majority of children who are aborted after 20 weeks gestation lose their lives through a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D&E). Dilation and evacuation involves first administering medication that will stop the baby’s heart from beating. The mother’s cervix is then dilated and the baby is removed piece by piece with forceps. According to reports, the abortionist assembles the baby’s body parts on a tray to ensure that nothing is left behind.
Most states across America ban abortions after 24 weeks, although some have sought to lower the legal limit.