For nearly a year, Louisiana's Democratic senator Mary Landrieu has avoided taking a position on a federal bill that would ban almost all abortions during the final four months of pregnnacy. Politico's Burgess Everett reports that Landrieu has finally taken a stand on the legislation. Landrieu says she opposes the late-term ban because "20 weeks [of gestation] is not the norm for being able to live outside of a hospital."
Landrieu suggests she only supports abortion during the "pre-viability" period of a child's development--that is, the point in time before an infant's lungs have developed enough to sustain her life long-term. But medical studies show that 20 weeks after conception--the point at which the bill in question would ban most abortions--marks the beginning of viability for human beings.
"I'm here because it's easy for me to imagine these babies at 20 to 24 weeks post-fertilization age because they are my patients in the [neo-natal intensive care unit]," Dr. Colleen Malloy of Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine testified before Congress in 2012. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Malloy explained, "Survival to one year of life of live born infants at 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 weeks postfertilization age was 10%, 53%, 67%, 82%, and 85%, respectively."