HomeoldA 15-week Phantom “Ban” is no “Ban” at all

A 15-week Phantom “Ban” is no “Ban” at all

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A report in the May 18 issue of Politico indicated that prominent anti-abortion figures are persisting in their efforts to persuade Donald Trump to endorse a 15-week ban as the standard for the Republican Party.

A parallel account was published in the Washington Post on the same day.

It can be reasonably concluded that these publications are not sympathetic to pro-lifers. One might inquire as to the degree of satisfaction among these individuals with the assertion that a 15-week “ban” on abortion represents the standard position for the Republican Party and its candidates. This represents a significant departure from the objectives of the grassroots pro-life movement at the state level over the past fifty years.

National Right to Life has not been involved in the strategy of making a pledge to support a fifteen-week “ban” as a litmus test for pro-life political support. There are several compelling reasons for this stance.

Firstly, it is important to note that a 15-week “ban” is not, in fact, a “ban” at all. CDC data indicates that approximately 95% of all abortions are performed by 15 weeks. A further notable proportion of the 5% of abortions that occur later are for reasons related to the life of the mother or medical emergencies, or conditions incompatible with life in the unborn child that are discovered late in pregnancy.

A 15-week ban would be ineffective in protecting unborn babies from elective abortion.

Secondly, the national 15-week ban strategy appears increasingly perplexing in light of the fact that such a ban is unlikely to be enacted in the near future. In order to overcome a pro-abortion filibuster, it would require 60 votes in the Senate. At this juncture, the number of votes in favour of the bill is estimated to be at most 48.

It is unreasonable to anticipate that the pro-life movement will gain a net of 12 Senate seats in the next election or even during the next presidential term. This is particularly the case if pro-life candidates are publicly criticised for not adhering to a national 15-week ban pledge.

Thirdly, any form of attack, threat or lack of support for pro-life Republican candidates is likely to attract media attention. The pro-abortion and pro-Democratic press is eager to publicize and promote damaging attacks on Republicans, and on pro-life candidates in particular.

It is reasonable to posit that Democratic strategists, in collaboration with their counterparts at Planned Parenthood and NARAL, would be enthusiastic about the prospect of such a scenario. It is evident that their research and polling indicates that a strategy of opposing a “national ban on abortion” is the optimal approach for them. As reported by the New York Times in a piece published on 10 November 2022,

“Soon after the June decision, Democratic Party committees invested in detailed polling, hoping to find out exactly which messages worked best. The conclusion was clear:

The most effective message for Democrats was to keep the conversation broad, painting Republicans as supporting a national ban on abortion and avoiding a discussion of gestational-week limits.”

It seems reasonable to posit that the press will be content to facilitate the implementation of Democratic strategy by focusing on the prospect of a national ban on abortion whenever they can associate a pro-life presidential or congressional candidate with it. This is despite the fact that such a ban cannot be passed.

It is therefore necessary to inquire as to the rationale behind the pursuit of such a goal and the designation of it as a litmus test for pro-life candidates.

Rather than advocating for a politically damaging 15-week national ban on abortion that is unlikely to be achieved, the right-to-life movement should pursue tangible, lifesaving objectives at the federal level that are politically prudent and realistically attainable in the near future.

In addition, it is recommended that meaningful limits and restrictions on abortion be enacted at the state level wherever possible.

The Hyde Amendment and other current protective federal laws have saved numerous lives. It is imperative that these protections be maintained. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” represents a more realistic and politically viable objective that would result in even greater savings in lives while garnering significant public support.

It is of greater consequence to elect a president who will revoke the numerous pro-abortion administrative acts of the Biden administration and utilise their administrative powers to save lives, than to elect one who merely gives lip service to a phantom national 15-week “ban” that would leave abortion intact and unborn children abandoned.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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