(Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
NARAL Pro-Choice America, formerly known as the National Abortion Rights Action League, appears concerned it may be losing the battle to depict a 20-week abortion ban as "extreme." The group expressed outrage that a host on NBC, a network usually sympathetic to abortion rights advocates, implied the 20-week ban is "reasonable."
"Is it not reasonable to put late-term restrictions on abortion ... ?" David Gregory of "Meet the Press" asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on July 14.
Gregory pressed Reid twice more, repeatedly using the word "reasonable," after Reid continued to dodge the question. Reid promised to "look at" the legislation, but also called it a "fringe issue."
NARAL is now asking its supporters to email NBC to express their disappointment in Gregory's use of the phrase "reasonable" to describe the 20-week abortion ban.
"Your depiction of 20-week abortion bans as 'reasonable' is misleading – and is exactly how anti-choice groups want these bans to be characterized," NARAL wrote.
Most Americans believe a ban on abortions after the fetus is 20-weeks old is reasonable. A majority would even ban all second and third trimester abortions, which begin at 16 weeks.
A recent HuffPost / YouGov poll showed 59 percent of Americans support the 20-week abortion ban. Only 30 percent were opposed. A Gallup poll conducted last year showed 64 percent of Americans support banning abortions in the second trimester and 80 percent support banning them in the third trimester. A 2011 Gallup poll showed that even a majority of those who describe themselves as "pro-choice," those who NARAL ostensibly represents, believe that abortion should be illegal in the second trimester.
Restricting the abortion of fetuses even younger than 20-weeks is considered reasonable around the globe, even when looking at Western Europe, one of the most liberal areas on the planet.
According to worldabortionlaws.com, a Center for Reproductive Rights website: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden have a 14-week ban; Italy has a 90-day ban; Portugal has a 10-week ban; Netherlands does not allow abortions after the age at which fetuses are viable outside the womb, which it calculated to be 21 weeks, but will allow abortions up to 24 weeks for medical emergencies; And Ireland has a near total ban, only allowing abortions to save the life of the mother.
NARAL seemed to suggest that what makes the 20-week ban "unreasonable" is that it would make it more difficult to abort fetuses with abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.
"Most states already have laws that address post-viability abortion," NARAL wrote. "If you were to ask a woman who received a heart-breaking diagnosis dramatically affecting her pregnancy at 20 weeks forcing her to make an extremely difficult decision, surely she would disagree that such a ban is 'reasonable.'"