WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say a Republican-led proposal to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks would endanger women’s health and have serious consequences for doctors.
“If this law were passed and passed, this law would create a nationwide public health crisis that would endanger the health and lives of women in all 50 states,” reads a preliminary analysis of the bill by Gender Policy Chair Jennifer Klein White House Council obtained from The Associated Press. “It would transform medical practice and open the door for doctors to be thrown in jail for using their best medical judgment in fulfilling their duty of care to patients.”
The measure, introduced last week by Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., proposes a statewide ban that would allow for rare exceptions. The law has little chance of becoming law in the democratically controlled Congress. GOP leaders didn’t immediately embrace it, and Democrats cite the proposal as an alarming signal of where Republicans would be headed if they won control of Congress in November.
Many in the United States had believed that the constitutional abortion right established by the Supreme Court nearly 50 years ago could never be overturned. But that protection was scrapped by the court’s conservative majority this year, and proponents are leaving nothing to chance.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a nonprofit organization representing more than 60,000 physicians nationwide, sent a letter to the White House on Thursday outlining its concerns about the proposed law.
The group criticized the “arbitrary age limit for pregnancy” because it “is not based on scientific and medical evidence and would dramatically impair patients’ ability to receive timely medical care, including prenatal care, miscarriage management and abortion treatment.”
The organization argued that doctors would become less qualified as their training would be changed to comply with the law once the bans were in place. The letter said doctors fear that post-abortion bans already in place in several states will “have deadly consequences and further exacerbate a deepening maternal mortality crisis, in which 80% of deaths are preventable.”
The White House said the Republican proposal could have a chilling effect given the prospect of doctors becoming unwilling to attend to patients. Doctors could also be prosecuted for performing an abortion to protect the mother’s health, providing miscarriage treatment, aborting a pregnant woman whose baby has no chance of surviving, or treating a rape victim who has not fully complied with reporting requirements.
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