If anyone wants to send off a similar letter to Franks, please feel free to borrow any of my text.
Dear Representative Franks,
As a resident of DC, I urge you not to support the ban on 20 week abortions for the District of Columbia.
I have always been pro-choice and pro-women’s-freedom, but I was at one point opposed to late-term abortions. Why? Because I didn’t know the facts. I thought late term abortions occurred because women were too stupid/fickle to make the decision earlier. I bought into the so-called pro-life movement’s claim that there were these awful, barbaric women out there deliberately waiting until they were 6 months along before having a nearly-viable fetus brutally destroyed.
The truth is that only 1.3% (CDC, 2011) of abortions occur after 20 weeks, and these are usually the situations that deserve the most compassion and the most respect for the difficult and painful choices a woman sometimes has to make. Though there are no reliable statistics for why women choose to have late-term abortions, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) cites “illnesses of women and fetal anomalies” as major factors.
On April 2, Georgia passed a bill some have affectionately referred to as the “Women as Livestock” bill. Rep. Terry England stated that if livestock have to "deliver calves, dead or alive," then a woman carrying a dead fetus after 20 weeks, or one not expected to survive, should have to do so as well. Because if money/technology prevent farmers from showing compassion to animals, why should a government full of men have to respect the basic human rights of women?
Another JAMA article states that “other risk factors [for late term abortions] include young age, low educational attainment, having had a sexually transmitted disease, and ambivalence about the decision to abort.” The restrictions and limitations Republicans nationwide have enacted to discourage abortions (abstinence-only education, requirements to visit ‘crisis centers,’ coercion through forced ultrasounds, etc.) actually contribute to later-term abortions.
Abortion opponents target rare cases of late term abortion, describing it in horrific detail, to evoke an emotional response in listeners. Their ultimate goal is to restrict all abortion rights. What these lobbyists strategically fail to mention, however, is that banning late term abortions would force women pregnant with dying fetuses to give birth at great risk to their own health, undermining both the rights of women and the medical authority of doctors.
Late term abortions are more heart-rending, yes, because the fetus is further developed, but the numbers show that women are not selfishly waiting until the last possible minute and then heartlessly deciding to murder an innocent baby. These are medical decisions made by women and their health care providers – legislators have no right to be involved in those decisions. Access to basic health care and human rights is even more important when the woman’s life is actually in danger.
“Fetal pain” is not a scientifically proven or accepted phenomenon, but you know who can feel pain? Women. At all stages of a pregnancy.
On May 17, when the House Judiciary Committee holds the hearing on the 20 week abortion ban, I implore you to think about the living, voting constituents you already have, and to vote against the bill.