The bill’s explicit requirement for states to allow post-viability abortions pushes the boundaries even further. Under its provisions, a woman with a viable fetus could still obtain an abortion if her abortion services provider determines that “continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.” This provision does not require that risk to be serious or substantial, nor does it distinguish between a woman’s mental and physical health. The bill doesn’t even require the abortion provider to attempt to save the viable child’s life.
It’s worth considering what characteristics that unborn child has during the periods when this bill authorizes its termination. That child has all of its internal organs by the end of the first trimester. By the 16th week, it can suck its thumb. By the 20th week, the child is growing hair. By the 24th week, its eyes can open, it has fingerprints and it can even hiccup. At this point, it is undeniably tiny, but so too is the 1.5-inch-long slenderclaw crayfish, which just became a legally protected species. Indeed, the unborn child is nearly a foot long by the end of the second trimester. In other words, the bill would effectively give greater legal protection to small animals than to small humans.
The post-viability child is even more recognizably human. By the seventh month, it responds to pain and light. It would feel its own demise as clearly as anyone.