Abortion rights advocates push back after Donald Trump calls for 'late-term' abortion ban in SOTU address
New York's new legislation, called the Reproductive Health Act, expanded abortion rights to allow a woman to get an abortion after 24 weeks if her health was threatened
Multiple abortion rights advocates slammed President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday after he called for a federal ban on "the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb."
The president called for the ban in the wake of a new law in New York expanding abortion rights.
Trump, in his address, said: "To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”
The New York legislation, called the Reproductive Health Act, expanded abortion rights to allow a woman to get an abortion after 24 weeks if her health is threatened and the fetus has no chance of surviving outside the womb.
Advocates of the law said that the legislation was necessary for the protection of pregnant women who do not have many options in face of health risks.
The law has also been framed as a safeguard against a newly-conservative Supreme Court that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that effectively legalized abortion across the nation.
However, the same law has been slammed by anti-abortion advocates who deem it as an "extreme" expansion of abortion access which gives too much discretion to medical professionals.
"There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days,” Trump said during his address. “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world.”
However, his arguments were discredited by many experts, who said that the argument stating that abortions will take place “moments from birth” are inaccurate.
An obstetrician-gynecologist and a board member from Physicians for Reproductive Health, Dr. Kristyn Brandi, said: "They’re using these theoretical extreme examples to try to scare people," according to TIME.
“It’s not something that any person would come seeking, and it’s not something that any doctor would provide,” she said.
One of the multiple women who signed an open letter on Tuesday about their later abortions, Missy Kurzweil, while talking to the outlet, said: "No one wanted to meet my ‘living, feeling, beautiful baby’ more than me. No one is sadder that he will never get the chance to share his love and dreams with the world’ than I am. My choice to have a later abortion was an act of love to ease my child’s suffering. Shame on Trump for exploiting that love to appeal to his base.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that advocates for reproductive rights, a majority of abortions take place during the first trimester of pregnancy. While at least nine percent of abortions take place after the first trimester, and just 1% take place at 21 weeks or later.