Press Release: Advocates for Youth Statement on the Senate Introduction of the 20-Week Abortion Ban

Advocates for Youth strongly condemns the introduction of the the so-called “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, this bill would ban abortion care after 20 weeks, imposing harsh criminal sentences on providers who choose to follow their best medical judgment and provide such care. The proposed 20-week ban, as passed in the House as H.R. 36 and introduced today in the Senate, contains very narrow exceptions for people seeking abortion care after 20 weeks, and even narrower exceptions for young people seeking such care. All people who are survivors of sexual assault would have to jump unnecessary hurdles, even if the situation is medically urgent. All people under 17 who are survivors of rape or incest would be required to report their assault to law enforcement authorities before being able to seek abortion care. These restrictions endanger young people’s health and lives.


Every person faces their own unique circumstances, challenges, and potential complications, and must be able to make their own decisions based on their doctor’s advice, personal values, and what’s right for them and their family. Yet across the United States, those who have decided to end a pregnancy face restrictions, bans, and red tape that make safe, legal abortion care early in pregnancy harder and harder to obtain and illegal to get later. Young people in particular are more likely to face legal, economic, and social barriers to accessing abortion services and providers. They may be forced to delay an abortion until later in pregnancy because they need time to assemble the funds to pay for an abortion or obtain available transportation and reach a provider. Advocates for Youth supports the efforts of lawmakers who truly care about protecting young people’s health and safety and are working to address the health needs of people who seek later abortion care. There are many good options for advancing these shared objectives, including comprehensive sex education, affordable contraception, and safe, legal abortion services early in pregnancy. We must focus on protecting young people’s access to the full range of healthcare services and empowering them to lead safe, healthy lives.


Advocates for Youth is a national non-profit that champions programs and advocates for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health. Advocates’ Youth Activist Network stands 75,000 strong on 1,000 campuses and in tens of thousands of communities.

For Immediate Release  June 11, 2015

Rachel Cooke