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Congress is considering a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks — nationwide. What’s more, state legislatures are pushing their own 20-week bans. Once again, politicians are inserting themselves in the most private and personal medical decisions best left between a woman and her doctor.

Nearly 99 percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks, but when they are needed later in pregnancy, it’s often in very complex circumstances — the kind of situations where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available.

Abortions later in pregnancy may involve rare, severe fetal anomalies and serious risks to the woman’s health. Democrats (78%), Republicans (62%), and Independents (71%) — say this is the wrong issue for Congress and their state legislators to be spending time on.

Here is what you need to know about 20-week bans

  • 20-Week Bans Are Part of an Agenda to Ban All AbortionThe introduction of these bans doesn’t come in isolation. They’re part of a dangerous, out-of-touch, and coordinated effort to chip away at abortion access. Anti-abortion politicians in Congress and state legislatures are pushing their agenda, bit by bit, to ultimately outlaw abortion completely.

  • 20-Week Bans Are UnpopularThese bills — and the extreme agenda they are part of — are deeply unpopular with the public. When Americans understand the real-world impact of 20-week bans, a solid 60 percent of voters oppose them. In fact, 78 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of Republicans, and 71 percent of Independents — say this is the wrong issue for Congress and their state legislators to be spending time on.

  • 20-Week Bans Are Unconstitutional20-week bans are unconstitutional and a clear attempt to erode Roe v. Wade at the expense of women’s health. In fact, 20-week ban proponents are outspoken about their goal to challenge the 1973 Supreme Court decision protecting a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.

  • 20-Week Bans Criminalize DoctorsPoliticians shouldn’t have the right to take options away from doctors in dangerous medical situations or prevent them from informing patients about all their health care options — and politicians certainly shouldn’t be allowed to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term with no chance of survival.

Because these laws prevent doctors from giving their patients the best health care possible, leading medical organizations (like the Physicians for Reproductive Health and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) condemn them. But 20-week bans could still criminalize doctors with imprisonment, fines, or both for providing constitutionally protected care.

Women share the Real-life consequences

While a majority of abortions in the United States occur in the first trimester, it is important that a woman, her family, and her doctor have every medical option available. Laws banning abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy would take that deeply personal decision away.

61% of all voters say abortions should be legal after 20 weeks

Unfortunately, 20-week bans are already the law in some states, so we’ve already seen what happens when politicians interfere in women’s medical decisions and tie doctors’ hands. In states that have passed laws like this, some women and their families have been put into unimaginable situations — needing to end a pregnancy for serious medical reasons but unable to do so.

Videos: Why a 20-week ban is misguided

These are the stories of three women who had to make the decision to end their pregnancies — a decision that would be taken away with a 20-week ban.

Julie’s Story

This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with the choices my husband and I needed to make. 


Evelyn’s Story

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. 


Christie’s Story

I never thought I would ever need an abortion.