Hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle
43 states prohibited abortions beginning at specific stages of pregnancy
As of May 9, 2018, a total of 43 states prohibited abortions beginning at specific stages of pregnancy in America. The U.S. Supreme Court issued its 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade that state laws criminalizing abortion violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution. However, states can regulate and/or prohibit abortions once a fetus reaches the “point of viability.”
Of these 43 states, 17 currently prohibit abortions beginning at the stage of fetal viability, defined in Roe v. Wade as the point at which a fetus is “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.”
Fifteen states prohibited abortions beginning at 20 weeks post-fertilization.
Today, the National Review’s Alexandra Desanctis went after the hypocrisy some politicians have maintained by going after former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
“Another abuser has been exposed,” Desanctis wrote. Schneiderman. “was torpedoed earlier this week by a thoroughly devastating New Yorker report on his serial physical, sexual, and verbal abuse of several women with whom he had been romantically involved.”
“Like Harvey Weinstein before him, Schneiderman successfully donned the mask of a feminist ally throughout his career; he was the most outspoken attorney general in the country in support of women’s rights — particularly the right to abortion.”
She included names of public figures on the right of the political spectrum as well, including Tim Murphy, the “Roy Moores and Steve Wynns.”
“Schneiderman, Weinstein, former Minnesota senator Al Franken, and former Michigan congressman John Conyers, along with media figures Leon Wieseltier, Matt Lauer, and popular comedian Louis C. K. were all ostensible allies of the women’s-rights movement and the broader progressive agenda. All these men, too, have been accused of serial sexual misconduct, though some allegations have been more credible and serious than others,” Desanctis, a William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism, continued.
On May 4, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) signed SF359 into law. The legislation, scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2018, will prohibit abortions beginning at the point that a fetal heartbeat can be detected (approximately six weeks from conception). Iowa’s law will establish the earliest threshold for abortion prohibition in the country.
- 2 states impose prohibitions in the third trimester.
- 24 states impose prohibitions after a certain number of weeks; 17 of these states ban abortion at about 20 weeks post-fertilization or its equivalent of 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period on the grounds that the fetus can feel pain at that point in gestation.
The circumstances under which later abortions are permitted vary from state to state.
- 19 states permit later abortions to preserve the life or health of the woman.
- 20 states unconstitutionally ban later abortions, except those performed to save the life or physical health of the woman.
- 4 states unconstitutionally limit later abortions to those performed to save the life of the woman.
Some states require the involvement of a second physician when a later-term abortion is performed.
- 14 states require that a second physician attend the procedure to treat a fetus if it is born alive in all or some circumstances.
- 9 states unconstitutionally require that a second physician certify that the abortion is medically necessary in all or some circumstances.
Although the vast majority of states restrict later-term abortions, many of these restrictions have been struck down. Most often, courts have voided the limitations because they do not contain a health exception; contain an unacceptably narrow health exception; or do not permit a physician to determine viability in each individual case, but rather rely on a rigid construct based on specific weeks of gestation or trimester.
Nonetheless, statutes conflicting with the Supreme Court’s requirements remain on the books in some states. For example, the law in Michigan permits a postviability abortion only if the woman’s life is endangered and laws in several other states ban abortion at a specific point in gestation.
According to Ballotpedia:
State abortion prohibitions based on stage of pregnancy
|State||Does the state prohibit abortion after a specific point in pregnancy?||Threshold for prohibition|
|Alabama||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Arkansas||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Florida||Yes||24 weeks since last menstrual period|
|Georgia||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Indiana||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Iowa||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Kansas||Yes||22 weeks since last menstrual period|
|Kentucky||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Louisiana||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Massachusetts||Yes||24 weeks post-implantation|
|Mississippi||Yes||20 weeks since last menstrual period|
|Nebraska||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Nevada||Yes||24 weeks post-fertilization|
|New York||Yes||24 weeks post-fertilization|
|North Carolina||Yes||20 weeks since last menstrual period|
|North Dakota||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Ohio||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Oklahoma||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||24 weeks since last menstrual period|
|Rhode Island||Yes||24 weeks since last menstrual period|
|South Carolina||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|South Dakota||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Texas||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|
|Virginia||Yes||Third trimester since last menstrual period|
|West Virginia||Yes||22 weeks since last menstrual period|
|Wisconsin||Yes||20 weeks post-fertilization|