Hey Congress, you really need to stop scapegoating women and minorities

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at 4:48 PM

New legislation was passed by the House of Representatives on Oct. 3 criminalizing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This new legislation, The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, comes with a few exceptions: rape, incest and if the mother’s life is at risk.

The House continuously attempted to pass legislation similar to this prior. In 2013 and 2015, it ultimately failed. But in 2017, the House has the support from the White House. 

The act makes it illegal for women to get an abortion after 20 weeks, with the threat of a fine or up to five years in prison, or both for a doctor who performs an abortion after the limited time slot. This legislation prevents women from seeking safe, legal abortions and criminalizes women for seeking out an abortion past the regulated time. 

Republicans claim the argument of science is on their side, science that states unborn children older than 20 weeks can physically feel pain. The problem is, their argument is false. 

Most science shows that only well after 20 weeks can fetuses feel pain. Claiming that fetuses can feel pain that early in a pregnancy is only a way of pushing their dangerous argument even further. 

The “science” of this legislation has been refuted by many doctors and OB-GYNs, who say the time when a fetus can feel pain isn’t until probably the third trimester. If only these people were more passionate about scientific evidence in other issues, like climate change. 

With less access to safe abortions, the new legislation will undoubtedly force women to travel long distances and pay a lot of money to obtain a safe and legal abortion. In the United States, it’s not odd for women to travel far distances for safe and affordable care. 

The access to abortions has also been a recurring issue in the U.S. With already existing issues, like not being able to take off work to travel a long distance for appointments, and an unequal access to safe abortions, limiting the time slot of when women can legally get abortions causes even more problems to the health and safety of hundreds of women.

On Oct. 1, Congress allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program to expire. Nine million children are provided with health insurance under this program. This program was created in 1997, and looks to ensure that children (and pregnant women) in low-income families would be covered. 

Congress terminated a program that helps 9 million children get doctor checkups, affordable medicine and immunizations. When the government makes it unlawful for women to have abortions, but also doesn’t offer affordable healthcare to the children being born, it’s not far-fetched to wonder if they actually care about the children’s lives after birth. 

Throughout history, there are constant instances when women and minorities are used as scapegoats. When the elite can blame and criminalize minorities, the question of whether the country is looking to the right things to criminalize comes to mind. With issues like Flint, Michigan still not having clean water after over 1,000 days, and an obvious need for reform on our gun laws, it’s a shame we must use women as a scapegoat and criminalize them for making decisions for themselves and their bodies. 

Sarah Cacchione can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: voices, opinion

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