Ohio Bans Abortions After 20 Weeks

Ultrasound of fetus at 20 weeks (The Times in Plain English)

Ultrasound of fetus at 20 weeks (The Times in Plain English)

Another blow for women’s health: Ohio Governor John Kasich (yes, the former Republican presidential hopeful) signed a bill to approve banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. (To put this in context, most pregnancies are around 40 weeks long.)

The Senate Bill 127, signed December 2016, does not allow for exceptions in rape and incest cases. Supporters of the bill claim that the fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. (I’m curious how they know this; did they ask the fetus through the ultrasound?) The only exception will be for women whose pregnancy puts their health at risk.

Providers caught performing abortions after 20 weeks will charged with a “fourth-degree felony.”

Earlier that month, Kasich tried to sign a “heartbeat” bill, which would ban abortion after six weeks. A heartbeat pulse can generally be found around that time, though women may not know they’re pregnant. He eventually vetoed it due to overwhelming public pressure.

Around 1% of abortions occur after 20 weeks. The new law takes effect Mar. 14, 2017.

Hillary Clinton Spoke 38% of the Time During the First Presidential Debate

Hillary Clinton (ABC News)

Hillary Clinton (ABC News)

The first presidential debate aired this past Monday night between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. It was clear that Trump interrupted Clinton many times (51 times, to be exact), but his talking time massively negatively impacted Clinton’s.

Clinton spoke only 38% of the debate running time.

How do we know this? Twitter crunched some numbers surrounding the frequency of the hashtag #debates, and possibly how many times the two nominees’ names (and maybe quotes) were mentioned. (I couldn’t find the methodology behind Twitter’s data, so I couldn’t delve into it. Sad.)

By contrast, Trump spoke for 62% of the time. Given his verbose tendencies, this hardly comes as a surprise.

By The Numbers: How Many States Require an Ultrasound Viewing Before an Abortion?

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 16, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland. The American Conservative Union held its annual conference in the suburb of Washington, DC to rally conservatives and generate ideas.  (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 16: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 16, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland. The American Conservative Union held its annual conference in the suburb of Washington, DC to rally conservatives and generate ideas. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Wisconsin Republican governor/maybe-presidential hopeful Scott Walker signed a new law requiring that women who wanted to get abortions be required to get an ultrasound of the fetus before making their decision. Walker’s reasoning was that he wanted women to make informed choices (i.e. choose life!) about their unborn children. (Side note: he also referred to ultrasounds as “a cool thing out there.” I’m not touching that one.)

I wanted to find out how widespread the practice of requiring expectant mothers to view an ultrasound before proceeding with an abortion was. So I turned to trusty source The Guttmacher Institute for some stats.

Number of states that require giving contextual information (i.e. written materials and/or verbal counseling) around the ultrasound: 12

Number of states that require the abortion provider to show and describe the ultrasound: 3

Number of states that require the abortion provider to offer a viewing of the ultrasound if it’s part of the abortion process: 9

The Guttmacher has more numbers on this topic. Personally, I find it fascinating that these laws are essentially banking on the assumed fact that women are ruled by their emotions and are baby-crazy, and so seeing an ultrasound before an abortion would change their minds.