House Subcommittee Amends Federal Legislation to Ban Abortion at 20 Weeks Nationwide

Center for Reproductive Rights calls on members of House Judiciary Committee to reject unconstitutional and harmful bill

(PRESS RELEASE) Today the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee voted 6-4 to amend and expand a bill that would ban all abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy nationwide, with only a narrow exception to save a pregnant woman’s life.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) introduced HR 1797 last month in an attempt to restrict legal reproductive health care services for women living in the District of Columbia—but the bill was amended today to apply its restrictions across the United States. The bill is now poised to advance to the full House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
 
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
 
“This assault on the health, dignity, and rights of women was dangerous and unconstitutional when it was aimed at the women of Washington, DC, and has only become more reprehensible now that it has been amended to apply to all women across the U.S.
 
“Every pregnant woman faces her own unique circumstances, challenges, and potential complications, and it is every woman’s constitutional right to make her own medical decisions without interference from politicians who presume to know better.
 
“It is astonishing that the Subcommittee on the Constitution would support such a clear affront to the U.S. Constitution—especially when everywhere similar laws have been challenged in the courts, they have been immediately blocked.
 
“We urge the members of the House Judiciary Committee to respect the Constitution and defend women’s health and rights by rejecting this harmful and misguided bill.”
 
Following a lawsuit filed by the Center and the ACLU, a similar ban enacted in Franks’ home state of Arizona was permanently struck down by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 21. A similar law in Idaho was ruled unconstitutional by a federal district judge earlier this year and a state court temporarily blocked a 20-week ban in Georgia in December 2012.