Elective abortion is only one of the grounds on which abortion is legal in most of Europe, and time limits for this differ per country. When these time limits end, abortion almost always remains legal for a much longer period on other grounds, such as broadly framed socioeconomic or health grounds, or grounds of severe or fatal fetal impairment.
In support of calls for a 15-week ban on abortion — with carve-outs merely for highly restrictive exceptions, extending only to situations of physical risk to a patient’s life and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest — U.S. lawmakers referred to six European countries in particular (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway and Spain) and falsely stated that such a ban in the United States would be similar to policies in these nations.
Although these countries set a first-trimester time frame for elective abortion, they all allow abortion thereafter on other grounds. For example, laws in Denmark and Norway allow abortion for social, economic or family reasons until fetal viability (the definition of which is not specified). German law allows abortion on grounds of serious risk to health throughout pregnancy, explicitly noting that this covers both physical and mental health.
Moreover, unlike in the United States, many of these countries include abortion under national health insurance policies, as do most other Northern and Western European countries, meaning that patients do not have to finance the costs of abortion care themselves.
Even more problematic is the underlying assertion that new bans and restrictions on access to abortion dovetail with a European approach to abortion. This is highly disingenuous.
The fact is that most European countries are moving to expand access to abortion, not limit it. In the majority of countries, European lawmakers have moved steadily forward for decades on the issue of access to abortion. They have removed bans, increased abortion’s legality and taken steps to ensure laws and policies on abortion are guided by public health evidence and clinical best practices.
Honestly or not, Nancy Mace tries to portray herself as "in the middle" on several issues, a loyal Republican but not at odds with the 21st century, a potential darling of the mainstream media. She doesn't stimulate the erogenous zones of the Republican base but, if she continues to be dishonest about abortion, she may sometime emerge beyond the First Congressional District of South Carolina.
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