A super strict anti-abortion bill just passed the House

A bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks just passed in the House of Representatives. It probably won’t become law, though, because it will likely not get enough votes in the Senate.

It’s still troubling that the bill made it this far — especially because, as The Daily Dot points out, this is actually the second time the bill has passed the House. The same thing happened in 2015.

READ ALSO: How movies have portrayed abortion since 1916

Here’s the bill’s summary, straight from Congress’s official website:

This bill amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.

A violator is subject to criminal penalties—a fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

The bill provides exceptions for an abortion: (1) that is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or (2) when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. A physician who performs or attempts to perform an abortion under an exception must comply with specified requirements.

A woman who undergoes a prohibited abortion may not be prosecuted for violating or conspiring to violate the provisions of this bill.

That’s right — if it becomes law, this bill will make it possible for doctors to be imprisoned for up to five years for performing abortions.

So why does the bill specify 20 weeks? Because anti-abortion folks believe that’s when a fetus can feel pain. The bill itself is called “The Pain-Capable Unborn Children Protection Act,” which is not only dystopian and alarmist, but possibly inaccurate.

Many doctors believe fetuses are not capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks.

You might think there’s a silver lining in the fact that the bill doesn’t apply to women whose lives would be saved by abortions, or women whose pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. But this provision actually makes it more clear that the bill’s intent is to punish women for having sex. Why else would only some “unborn children” be entitled to its protection?

Plus, no matter what their circumstances are, it’s not like women are getting abortions after 20 weeks for fun. Here’s a statement from NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue explaining as much:

Abortion after twenty weeks of pregnancy is rare and almost always medically complicated. There is no place in these conversations for politicians pursuing an ideological agenda with no knowledge of the medical specifics of each case. Women making these difficult decisions need medical professionals, not tone deaf legislation.

This is a good time to remind the world that no one wants an abortion. The women who undergo abortions at any stage in a pregnancy would probably rather not be in that position, but an abortion is necessary for them. Punishing doctors for performing abortions will do nothing but force people to take more extreme measures to end their unwanted pregnancies.

READ ALSO: 5 women who couldn’t get abortions tell their stories

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