WASHINGTON– The White House and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said Thursday that a Republican-led proposal to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks would endanger women’s health and have dire consequences for doctors.
“If passed and signed into law, this bill would create a nationwide health crisis, endangering the health and lives of women in all 50 states,” according to a preliminary analysis of the bill by Jennifer Klein, chair of the White House Gender Policy Council, which was obtained by The Associated Press. “It would transform the practice of medicine, opening the door for doctors to be imprisoned if they carry out their duty to care for patients according to their best medical judgment.”
President Joe Biden himself said at a fundraiser that some GOP efforts to ban abortion were more extreme than his own Catholic faith.
“I happen to be a practicing Roman Catholic. My church doesn’t even make that argument,” he said, referring to abortion bans that “leave no exceptions. rape incest No exceptions.”
Catholic teaching is that abortion is prohibited, although surgery to save the life of the mother is permitted, even if it means the baby will die as a result. The measure introduced last week by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.C., proposes a nationwide ban that would allow rare exceptions.
The federal legislation has almost no chance of becoming law in the Democrat-controlled Congress. Republican leaders did not immediately accept it and Democrats point to the proposal as an alarming sign of where Republicans would try to go if they wanted to gain control of Congress in November.
Many in the United States believed that the constitutional right to abortion, established by the Supreme Court nearly 50 years ago, could never be overturned. But that protection was stripped away this year by the court’s conservative majority, and advocates are leaving nothing to chance.
Vice President Kamala Harris urged Democratic attorneys general at a meeting Thursday in Milwaukee to keep fighting for abortion rights in the states. She singled out Josh Kaul of Wisconsin, who is running for reelection in November, for filing a lawsuit to challenge the 1849 state law that bans abortion, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
“Josh, our administration has your back,” he said to applause.
Clinics in Wisconsin stopped performing abortions after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade as the legal fight unfolds over whether the state law is in effect. Republican lawmakers have rejected two attempts by the Democratic governor. Tony Evers, also on the ballot, to repeal the law.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a nonprofit organization that represents more than 60,000 physicians across the country, sent a letter to the White House on Thursday outlining its concerns about the proposed law.
The group took issue with the “arbitrary gestational age limit” because it “was not based on scientific and medical evidence and would dramatically interfere with patients’ ability to receive timely medical care, including prenatal care, management of miscarriage and abortion care.
The organization argued that doctors would become less qualified because if the bans were in place, their training would be changed to comply with the law. The letter said that doctors feared that bans already in place in several states following the repeal of abortion rights “will have deadly consequences, further exacerbating the worsening maternal mortality crisis, within which 80% of deaths are preventable”.
The White House said the Republican proposal could have a chilling effect, with doctors potentially unwilling to treat patients. Physicians could also face criminal charges for performing an abortion to safeguard the mother’s health, providing miscarriage care, aborting a pregnant woman whose baby has no chance of surviving, or treating a rape victim who has not fully completed the notification requirements.
Associated Press writer Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin and Aamer Madhani in New York contributed to this report. Follow AP’s abortion coverage at