It should not be surprising that the committee of white men in the House looking at trying to criminalize abortions after twenty-weeks of pregnancy are insisting that women carry a fetus to term even if the fetus has zero chance of surviving even to birth. This has been a huge part of the anti-women’s rights movement because they believe that some women are conspiring with their doctors to get around bans on abortion after twenty-two weeks by claiming that a fetus is not viable.
The attempt to ban abortion after twenty weeks largely comes from the belief from anti-women’s rights and anti-abortion groups that fetuses feel pain after twenty weeks despite the fact that they cannot prove this, and all attempts to prove this theory fail.
Christy Zink, despite being an anti-women’s rights advocate, pushed back against the claim that banning abortion after twenty weeks would stop fetal pain. ThinkProgress notes that Zink has very good reason for not wanting a ban like the one Louie Gohmert and company are pushing.
Zink’s doctors discovered at 21 weeks that her fetus in a past pregnancy was largely brain dead. The fetal abnormality that her fetus suffered was not detectable earlier in the pregnancy, and she stated “If this bill had been passed before my pregnancy, I would have had to carry to term and give birth to a baby whom the doctors concurred had no chance of a life and would have experienced near-constant pain.”
She went on to explain “If he had survived the pregnancy — which was not certain — he might never have left the hospital. My daughter’s life, too, would have been irrevocably hurt by an almost always-absent parent.”
Of course, Representative Gohmert (R-TX) does not care about women’s rights or fetal pain or how much of a problem this would cause to the expectant mother or her family. He believes that Zink should have carried her brain-dead fetus to term instead of ‘ripping him apart’. He stated:
Ms. Zink, having my great sympathy and empathy both. I still come back wondering, shouldn’t we wait, like that couple did, and see if the child can survive before we decide to rip him apart? So. These are ethical issues, they’re moral issues, they’re difficult issues, and the parents should certainly be consulted. But it just seems like, it’s a more educated decision if the child is in front of you to make those decisions.
He makes the comment about five minutes into this video:
The committee is, of course, wasting its time since it appears that bans like this are likely to go down in court. Arizona passed such a ban, and the courts have already blocked it from going into effect. Opponents to this restrictive abortion ban have pointed out that it is cruel to force women into carrying to term a fetus that is doomed to die within days of birth. Arizona has tried to defend the abortion ban by claiming that fetal abnormalities are “the woman’s problem”.
None of these bans actually address the reasons behind why women get abortions. Of course, to be able to put an end to abortions would require reforming the economy so that expectant mothers are in good financial situations to bring a child into the world, provide excellent prenatal healthcare, and various other social and economic factors being taken care of.
Unfortunately, Gohmert and crew are more interested in forcing women back into subservience than they are about reducing the number of abortions occurring in this nation. Much of the debate over abortion has to do with male power and privilege and less to do with actually protecting potential lives.