In a classic case of politicians thinking they know better than women and their doctors, the U.S. senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, proposed a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks—in every single state. Politics has no place preventing doctors and other health professionals from informing patients about all their health care options, and doctors should not be criminalized for providing constitutionally protected care, but that’s exactly what this bill would do. So, for pushing this extreme and dangerous bill, Senator Graham has earned the dishonorable distinction as the Gynotician of the Week.
The reality is that nearly 99% of abortions occur before 21 weeks, but when they do happen later, it’s often in heartbreaking and unusual circumstances. But having compassion for these types of real-world circumstances is not Graham’s strong suit. In his comments about the bill, Graham was quoted saying, “If we can convince the American people to provide assistance and prevent abortions at the 20th week, nothing bad is going to happen.” Nothing bad?
The lack of empathy for women and their families who have been put into unimaginable situations — needing to end a pregnancy for serious medical reasons but unable to do so—is shocking. Women who have been put into these circumstances like Evelyn know the reality of these heartbreaking circumstances: "It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. Whether or not to have an abortion is a decision that should always be made between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her God. You never think the worst is going to happen."
And if simply taking the decision out of a woman and her doctor’s hands was bad enough, the Graham bill contains a narrow exception for victims of rape and incest (requiring the rape to be reported to law enforcement), and marginalizes the needs of women by only allowing a very narrow exception for lifesaving abortions.
Considering that Senator Graham is not a doctor, he shouldn’t have the right to take these deeply personal decisions out of the hands of women and their doctors. Unfortunately, Senator Graham’s lack of qualifications hasn’t stopped him from trying to insert himself into the exam room; he has truly exemplified what it means to be the Gynotician of the Week.