On Wednesday, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives approved HR 36, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Among those who disapproved of the bill was Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, who expressed her displeasure with a series of tweets, one of which claimed the ban “lacks compassion” and “respect,” Twitchy said.
“The House will vote on an unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban,” she said Wednesday morning. She went on to claim in another tweet that the ban would “hurt women.” She also decried the timing of the debate, which she said was during “Women’s Health Week.”
“This ban would put barriers to care in front of rape survivors & eliminate health care options when they’re needed most,” she opined in another tweet. “Put simply,” she added, “a 20-week abortion ban lacks compassion & it lacks respect.”
The messages sickened a number of critics on Twitter. “Why doesn’t the 5 month old baby also deserve compassion and respect?” one person asked Richards.
“We live in such a twisted world that @cecilerichards would dare to say NOT killing a baby is lacking compassion?” the same Twitter critic asked. “This is INSANE.”
“Oh this is rich. Almost able to live outside womb and you want to kill it,” another Twitter user added. “Shame on you.”
“Yeah it lacks compassion and respect for the 5 month old baby you’re slaughtering,” tweeted another critic. “Good choice of words Cecile.”
Richards was castigated as “immoral” by some and one person called her a “ghoul.” Richards had some supporters, however. One person said the unborn child is not really a baby, but a “fetus” and therefore has no legal rights. One Twitter user told Richards’ supporter the word fetus means “young offspring,” or “young one.”
According to a summary at Congress.gov, the bill prohibits “the abortion from being performed if the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater…” There are three exceptions, however. Abortions, the measure says, can be performed “(1) where necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury, excluding psychological or emotional conditions; or (2) where the pregnancy is the result of rape, or the result of incest against a minor, if the rape has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to an appropriate law enforcement agency, or if the incest has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to an appropriate law enforcement agency or to a government agency legally authorized to act on reports of child abuse or neglect.”
The bill passed the House with a 242-184 vote, mostly along party lines. A previous version was yanked in January after some GOP women opposed a requirement that rapes be reported. Roll Call said they called it “insensitive to rape survivors who did not immediately report a sexual assault.” The revised says rape victims need to receive counseling and face a 48-hour waiting period before getting an abortion after 20 weeks, Matt Fuller added.
Citing the Centers for Disease Control, Fuller said the measure would only impact a small number of abortions. In 2011, the CDC said that “pproximately 1.4 percent of abortions were performed after 21 weeks, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 10,000 abortions take place after 20 weeks,” he added.