On Monday, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) on introduced legislation that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of gestation in Washington, D.C., as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Taking the law directly from the playbook of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), Senator Lee based his proposed bill on model legislation directly from the anti-choice group.
In a moment when it seems that women’s health has had a couple of important victories (the public response to Komen, and the Obama Administration’s protection of birth control) we have to remember that battles about mammograms and contraception are mere components of the broader war against women’s health.
Sen. Lee’s bill is similar to HR 3803 introduced in the House by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) in January. This legislation is based on the medically unproved assertion that fetuses can feel pain around 20 weeks. State legislatures in Alabama, Idaho, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas have approved similar legislation (Women’s Health Policy Report, 1/24).
House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D- Washington D.C.) pointed out the obvious – this is a test-case for national campaign to increase abortion restrictions. This is a shot accross the bow, and just as we have pressured our legislators and leaders to stand up for women’s access to preventive care, we have to make sure that we extend that argument to include a woman’s right to control her fertility, plan a family and protect her health.