The House on Friday passed a bill that would prohibit some state-level abortion restrictions. The bill, which is supported by President Joe Biden, is unlikely to pass the Senate.
The Women’s Health Protection Act would make it a right for a woman to undergo an abortion procedure, and it would override certain state laws restricting those procedures, including mandatory waiting periods, bans on abortions via telemedicine, or requiring providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would bring the bill to the floor for a vote after the Supreme Court declined to block a controversial Texas law prohibiting abortion after six weeks on procedural grounds.
At a Friday press conference, Pelosi said that because fellow California Democratic Rep. Judy Chu had already introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act, “we were ready.”
“Today is a day of mixed emotions,” Pelosi said. “I’m really happy that at long last we have a pro-choice House Democratic Caucus, which is a majority of the House, and a Democratic president to sign the bill.”
She added that she hopes a Democratic Senate passes it as well.
Rep. Chris Smith, co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said in remarks on the House floor that the bill would “nullify every modest pro-life restrictions ever enacted by the states.”
“This bill constitutes an existential threat to unborn babies,” said the New Jersey Republican.
The Biden administration said on Monday that it “strongly supports” the Women’s Health Protection Act, which it called “consistent with the protections established by Roe and subsequent Supreme Court precedent.”
Although it has the support of the president, the bill is unlikely to reach Biden’s desk because it currently lacks the votes to pass the Senate. Forty-eight Senate Democrats signed on to the bill as co-sponsors, but two — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania — did not. If both Manchin and Casey oppose the bill, then Democrats would need the help of pro-abortion Republicans such as Sens. Susan Collins of Maine or Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in order to pass the legislation.
Author : Kate Scanlon
Source : Washington Examiner : House passes bill that would ban state-level abortion restrictions