NOW President Terry O’Neill’s Statement on the House Leadership Retreat on 20-Week Abortion Ban

Washington, D.C. – Tomorrow, NOW activists across the country will gather in celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case which guarantees a woman’s constitutional right to abortion care.The radical right-wing leaders in the House of Representatives, however, originally decided to celebrate this anniversary by voting on H.R. 36, the deceptively named “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”.  That’s right, the infamous 20-week abortion ban.

But thanks to the grassroots mobilization by outraged women across the country, House leaders have pulled the 20-week ban and are scrambling to come up with an anti-abortion bill they can vote on and pass while the March For Life takes place on Thursday.

The dangerous and irresponsible 20-week ban has no exception for rape or incest unless the victim reports the assault — even though only a small minority of rape victims ever file a formal report.  However, Republicans who wish to present a moderate face have forced leadership to rethink their anti-women strategies, and for the moment the 20-week ban is being shelved.

Besides demonstrating a woeful lack of understanding about sexual assault and women’s reproductive health needs, the 20-week ban was justified by a tissue of lies.  NOW calls on House leaders to stop perpetuating myths and inventing false reasons to justify attacks on women’s reproductive healthcare.

The vast majority — over seven in ten — of people in the U.S. have repeatedly said they want Roe v. Wade to remain the law of the land.  Voters respect women’s basic human right to the full range of reproductive health services.  Why can’t the men in charge of the Republican party?

Contact: Elise Coletta,, (951) 547-1241