Recently, videos from AbortionProcedures.com were featured in testimony before the Maryland Legislature. Bill HR 547, which would ban abortion starting at 20 weeks, is currently before the state legislature.
In the video below, former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explains a D&E abortion procedure, which is commonly performed at this stage in the second trimester, from weeks 13-24:
The several witnesses there to testify on behalf of the Maryland bill offered compelling fact-based evidence, as well as anecdotal evidence, recognizing the humanity of preborn children. The brief arguments from the three witnesses opposed to the bill could not have stood in starker contrast.
“We honor the decision-making of child-bearing individuals when, if, how they form their families and add to their existing families…. We believe that Maryland women deserve all the options possible…” said Diana Philip of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland. But if NARAL really believed this, then they wouldn’t oppose the efforts of life-affirming pregnancy centers so ferociously, including in the state of Maryland.
Philip also said that offering women all reproductive health options will “enhance… overall health and future fertility.” But abortion doesn’t do this. In fact, it can put women’s health and future fertility at risk, especially for those procedures later in term.
“We are concerned that the bill bans a very safe method used in abortion… and physicians will have to turn to methods that are less safe,” said Robyn Elliott of Planned Parenthood of Maryland. But what’s strange about this is that she and other witnesses apparently failed to recognize that the bill is not banning a specific abortion procedure — it is banning abortion itself past 20 weeks. (Did Planned Parenthood even know what it was sending someone to testify against?)
Rochelle Young of ACLU Maryland also seemed confused about what the bill actually bans, saying, “A method ban is essentially a ban on abortion prior to viability, which we already heard it would be unconstitutional.” She said that banning a certain second trimester abortion procedure would “create an undue burden on a woman’s ability to seek an abortion, which would be unconstitutional.” Again, the bill bans abortion past 20 weeks gestation — not merely a specific method of abortion. Young also seemed unaware of medical advances which enable babies to survive earlier and earlier, as discussed in pro-life testimony, thus making preborn children viable at an earlier age as well.
State Delegate Sid Saab asked Planned Parenthood of Maryland’s Robyn Elliott whether she had watched the Abortion Procedures video shown at the hearing. Elliott responded, “We base our opinions at Planned Parenthood… based on medical research, and so we are opposed to this bill.” This is not the first time Planned Parenthood has attempted to claim that the pro-abortion camp is on the side of research and science, and it likely won’t be the last. But this claim is off the mark, as usual. If Planned Parenthood were truly pro-science, it would be willing to acknowledge the humanity and personhood of the preborn, since science agrees that human life begins at fertilization. And it should follow, then, that preborn children so late in gestation can feel pain, if not at a much earlier stage, as studies have suggested.
The Maryland witnesses are just a sampling of arguments — but their opinions are shared by their parent organizations.
So how does Planned Parenthood really feel about a 20-week abortion ban?
Some of the words the organization’s action fund uses for a ban are: “misguided,” “unpopular,” involving “unimaginable situations” and “serious medical reasons.”
As Sarah Terzo has documented for Live Action News, women often abort their babies late-term for reasons other than “serious medical” problems. As for Planned Parenthood’s claim that late-term bans are “unpopular,” polls have shown quite the opposite: the public supports a ban on late-term abortions (even the pro-abortion Huffington Post admitted this). Public support for a late-term ban is broad, across varying demographics and opinions on abortion.
Perhaps what’s truly “misguided” is to refuse to call a procedure that dismembers a human being in utero “inhumane.”
What about NARAL? What do they think about 20-week abortion bans?
“These bans are so extreme they offend even the most basic sense of common decency.”
This is an actual claim from NARAL Pro-Choice America, because, as Philip argued, many state versions don’t contain exceptions. But as expected, in order to make this claim, NARAL would have to ignore that killing viable babies isn’t exactly “common decency.”
The claim that “20-Week Abortion Bans Are Blatantly Unconstitutional” also falls apart, considering how early babies can survive out of the womb. Don’t expect NARAL to acknowledge that any time soon, however. The claim that “Anti-Choice Lawmakers are Pushing 20-Week Bans for Political Gain” is similarly rich, when again, Americans across all demographics support a ban.
What does the ACLU think about 20-week abortion bans?
“Congress should not buy into this dangerous and disturbing trend.”
This is how the ACLU views 20-week abortion bans, according to Sarah Lipton-Lubet, American Civil Liberties Union policy counsel, commenting on the 2013 Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
But if anything is “dangerous and disturbing,” it’s that the United States lags far behind the rest of the world in its late-term abortion laws.
While 21 states have passed such laws, and a federal version has been considered in Congress several times, there is still more work to be done, even with President Donald Trump having promised to sign such legislation should it come across his desk. The United States is one of only seven nations which allows for elective abortions after 20 weeks — an “extreme class of abortion permissibility,” to use Maryland Right to Life’s Gwen Murray’s phrase.
Saving pain-capable preborn children is not extreme, not dangerous, and not disturbing. It’s the right thing to do.