The National Network of Abortion Funds is sickened that Congressional legislators have chosen the anniversary of Rosie Jimenez’s death, from an illegal abortion due to the Hyde Amendment, to put politics ahead of the healthcare needs of their constituents and try to once again unconstitutionally ban abortion at 20 weeks.
Using made up terms like “late-term abortion”, time and time again, politicians have recklessly put ideology ahead of health, science, public opinion, and our courts to waste taxpayer dollars on an unconstitutional abortion ban, instead of saving lives and increasing access to healthcare. Rather than the 20-week ban, legislators could be voting to authorize funding to ensure 9 million children have health care access through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or lifting the Jones Act to ensure families of Puerto Rico have unfettered access to food and supplies, or expanding Medicaid, or enacting legislation to curb mass shootings and domestic terrorism that leave families mourning loved ones daily. But they’d rather spend our tax dollars time pushing a bill with no future, reminding people seeking abortions that they will be stripped of their constitutional rights and are not valued in the United States of America.
By proposing yet another ban on abortion, Congress is continuing the dangerous trend we’ve seeing manifest in states most hostile to reproductive care and abortion access. Politicians have put abortion further out of reach for those who may take longer to navigate financial and logistical barriers to access, and those are disproportionately people calling abortion funds. Furthermore, these politicians seek to criminalize abortion providers for simply caring for their patients.
H.R. 36’s sponsor, Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), has made unconstitutional and racist anti-abortion legislation his obsession. He has offensively called abortion, the “greatest human holocaust in the history of mankind”. Last year, 56 people of color who’ve had abortions, including We Testify storytellers called him out, and we are doing it again. We will not be silenced.
Instead of increasing access to contraception, reproductive health care, and programs for families with low-incomes, Congress has chosen to create additional barriers to constitutionally protected abortion care. If anti-abortion legislators believe they are responding to an increase in people needing abortions after 20-weeks, it’s time they had a reality check. The increase in abortions after 20-weeks has been caused by conservative legislators themselves by requiring government mandated waiting periods (three days in Iowa), forcing patients to travel hundreds of miles because their local clinic was shuttered, and because they can’t afford an abortion due to bans on their public and private insurance.
This law has no merit and is based in ideology, not science; it is another example of the continued overreach of legislators into our decisions to have abortions, and takes steps to incrementally ban it completely. Over 90 percent of counties in the United States don’t have an abortion provider. Adding this barrier to current state laws that pile on unnecessary burdens like waiting periods, forced ultrasounds, and shaming and medically unsound rhetoric before obtaining an abortion compounds travel costs and time off of work needed for an abortion.
Yamani Hernandez, Executive Director, National Network of Abortion Funds
When legislators play politics with their constituents’ health, no one wins. This law is intended to punish the most vulnerable. When people are already struggling to make ends meet we should support them, not make more barriers for them. This law would leave patients without anywhere to go to receive abortion care after 20-weeks, against the advice of their healthcare providers and the constitution—that is an injustice.
Sharon Lagos, We Testify Abortion Storyteller based in Texas
I had to have an abortion after 20-weeks because I experienced every anti-abortion barrier. When I was in college in Florida when I realized I was pregnant, but couldn’t afford an abortion, and soon after, returned home to Honduras for the summer, where abortion is illegal. A few months later, I transferred to a school in Texas, where abortion is legal, but because of the now unconstitutional HB2, most of the clinics were forced to shut down. I went to a crisis pregnancy center for a free pregnancy test where they told me it was too late to get an abortion because of the law. They talked to me about religion, and not the abortion I wanted. I cried. I knew I should be able to get an abortion and finally found a clinic that could help me, but my abortion would cost $12,000. I didn’t have the money. I was scared, but I searched online for abortion funds and called a lot of them. They helped me raise $9,000, a plane ticket to New Mexico, and a hotel so I could get my abortion. No one should have to go through what I went through to get an abortion. But H.R. 36 will make my experience the new normal.
Karen Agatone, Abortion Storyteller based in Pennsylvania
H.R. 36 is another dangerous anti-choice bill that would threaten our health, well being and fertility. When I received a fatal prenatal diagnosis at my 20 week ultrasound, I knew that having an abortion wasn’t about the decision to become a parent, but rather a parenting decision. This bill is another dangerous anti-choice policy where legislators are trying to force their beliefs on to families like mine when they don’t know our circumstances, and they could never truly understand. H.R. 36 would take away the right for each of us to decide for ourselves.
Darla Barar, Abortion Storyteller based in Texas
There are so many reasons that women choose to have abortions. I had an abortion at 22 weeks after receiving a devastating diagnosis for one of my twin daughters. And 20-week bans do target people like me, families like mine, under the guise of “protecting the innocent.” What policymakers don’t realize, or refuse to realize, is that my abortion decision was about saving my child’s life and sparing my innocent child from no life at all. Because Texas’ now unconstitutional law HB2 was being heard by the Supreme Court at the time, we had 12 days from her initial diagnosis to make a decision. 20-week bans leave little room for exceptions for health of babies like Catherine. Getting a diagnosis that fits their rules is nearly impossible. We should all be allowed to make the decisions we feel are best for our children and our family.
The National Network of Abortion Funds rebukes these attacks on abortion access and will not stop fighting back until they are abolished.
The National Network of Abortion Funds builds power with members to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice.