One of the many ways American pro-lifers are attempting to erode Roe v. Wade (the 1973 Supreme Court Ruling affirming the legality of a women's right to have an abortion under the 14th Amendment), is by bringing down the term limit on abortions.
A Republican Arizona Representative called Trent Franks, who is the Chairman of the Pro-Life Caucus, recently Tweeted his support of a bill that he successfully helped push through the House of Representatives called the 'Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act'. The act suggests that past 20 weeks, foetus' feel pain, and therefore should not be aborted.
Earlier this week they posted an image of a babies' feet with the caption, 'It's science: unborn babies feel pain by at least 20 weeks. Late, dismemberment abortions are too extreme for America.#TheyFeelPain'
On Tuesday Daniel Grossman, who is a clinical and public health researcher on abortion and contraception, responded with his thoughts via a series of Tweets.
He is the Director of the ANSIRH which, 'works to ensure that reproductive health care and policy are grounded in evidence,' as well as the UCSF Bixby Center which, 'advances reproductive health policy and practice worldwide through research, training and advocacy.' He's also a senior adviser to Ibis, which 'aims to improve women's reproductive autonomy, choices, and health worldwide.'
Grossman took umbrage with Frank's claim of scientific basis and and Tweeted him back, saying: 'Hi Rep. Trent Franks. I'm a researcher and abortion provider. This isn't actual science. I'd be happy to educate you about it if you'd like.'
His Tweet have since gone viral, with almost 70k Retweets and over 200,000 likes.
Taking Frank's silence as a yes, Grossman went on to talk through exactly what science surrounds abortions and their term limits.
The doctor explained the terminology Franks used was not scientific, why someone might need an abortion post 20 weeks and how the new bill and current laws affect women.
He also delved into actual peer-reviewed data surrounding foetal pain and when it is felt.
Grossman spoke to Teen Vogue about the viral thread, explaining the responses were 'overwhelmingly positive.'
He told them:
It's great to see that people are very interested in science, and making sure that legislation is informed by evidence-based research, not ideology. People crave facts and data, which they can assess for themselves and make a more informed opinion.
He explained that the bill in question was passed despite the expressed opposition of medical organisations:
As a physician, I find it frustrating when elected officials decide to legislate the practice of medicine without consulting experts in our field.
He expressed his concern with how pro-lifers sensationalised abortions with language:
'Anti-abortion advocates believe that if they can somehow make an abortion procedure seem gruesome or painful, fewer people will support it or will want to have it, so they've made up non-medical terms that sound awful to scare the general public,' he told Teen Vogue. 'But, if I were to describe any other surgery, or even childbirth, the average person might shy away.'
The United States is not the only place where this sort of rhetoric is being used as a powerful tool to strip women of their right to choose. Be wary of where you get your information and try and listen to reputable medical professionals.