U.S. House Passes Harmful, Unconstitutional Bill Banning Abortion at 20 Weeks Nationwide

 (PRESS RELEASE) The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a blatantly unconstitutional bill that would impose a nationwide ban on nearly all abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with only narrow exceptions to save a pregnant woman’s life and in cases of rape or incest that have been reported to legal authorities. 

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) introduced HR 1797 in April 2013 in an attempt to restrict legal reproductive health care services for women living in the District of Columbia—but the bill was amended earlier this month to apply its restrictions across the United States. 

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights: 

“Today the opponents of reproductive freedom in Congress proved themselves every bit as hostile to women’s health and constitutional rights as their extremist counterparts in state legislatures nationwide. 

“An intrusive and patently unconstitutional ban on abortion —which has already been blocked everywhere it has been challenged in court—now has the approval of a majority of U.S. House of Representatives. 

“Rather than protecting the health, lives, and constitutional rights of women across the U.S., they have assaulted them, and they should be deeply ashamed. “

We strongly urge the leadership in the Senate to do what the House failed to do and refuse to consider this harmful and blatantly unconstitutional attack on women’s reproductive rights.” 

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.