The House of Representatives voted on a pair of bills to restore abortion rights nationwide in the Democrats’ first legislative response to the landmark Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. valley.
The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 passed the House by a vote of 219-210 and is an updated version of a bill the House passed in September to enact the right to abortion and ban states from placing restrictions on abortions that could make them more. difficult or expensive to obtain. SenateA copy of this law in May.
The bill has little chance of becoming law because it lacks sufficient support in the 50-50 Senate. However, the vote marks the beginning of a new era in controversy as lawmakers, governors, and legislatures grapple with the impact of the court’s decision.
The House also passed a measure prohibiting states from interfering with a woman’s right to travel for an abortion, the Abortion Access Guarantee Act. It passed 223-205 but would also likely fail in the Senate.
“Just three weeks ago, the Supreme Court took a fundamental rights wrecking ball by overturning Roe v. Wade,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of the vote, who met other Democratic women on the steps of the Capitol. “It is outrageous that 50 years later, women must once again fight for our basic rights against an extremist court.”
Republicans spoke forcefully against the bills, praising the Supreme Court’s decision and warning that the legislation would go further than Roe did when it came to legalizing abortion.
She urged her colleagues to vote “No,” the Republican Representative from Washington. Kathy McMorris Rodgers called abortion “the greatest human rights issue of our generation.”
She said Democratic legislation “has nothing to do with protecting women’s health. It has to do with imposing an extremist agenda on the American people.”
In Roe’s veto, the court allowed states to enact severe restrictions on abortion, including in several cases previously deemed unconstitutional. The ruling is expected to lead to a ban on abortion in.
Already, a number of Republican-controlled states have moved quickly to limit or outlaw abortion, while Democratic-controlled states have sought to support access. Voters now rate abortion as one of the most pressing issues facing the country, a shift in priorities that Democrats hope will reshape the political landscape in their favor in the midterm elections.
The House bill would expand Roe’s earlier protections by banning what proponents say are medically unnecessary restrictions that prevent access to safe and accessible abortions. It would prevent a ban on abortion before 24 weeks, which is the time when fetal viability, that is, the ability of a human fetus to survive outside the womb, is generally believed to have begun. Exceptions are allowed for post-fetal abortions when the provider determines that the mother’s life or health is at risk.
The Democrats’ proposal would also prevent states from requiring providers to share “medically inaccurate” information, or to order additional tests or waiting periods, too often to discourage a patient from having an abortion.
The bill banning out-of-state travel penalty would also specify that doctors cannot be penalized for providing reproductive care outside their home state. Democratic Representative. Lizzie Fletcher of Texas, one of the bill’s authors, said the travel threats “do not reflect the fundamental rights granted by our Constitution.”
Democrats includingShe highlighted the case of a 10-year-old girl who had to cross state lines into Indiana to have an abortion after being raped, calling it an example that the court’s decision does indeed have dire consequences.
Senator. “We don’t have to imagine why that matters. We don’t need to make assumptions. We already know what happened,” Amy Klobuchar said on the Senate floor on Thursday.
“Should the right of the next little 10-year-old, the 12-year-old or the 14-year-old girl’s right to the care she desperately need be jeopardized?” she added.
The Constitution does not explicitly state that interstate travel is a right, although the Supreme Court said it is a right that has been “strongly entrenched and repeatedly recognized.” However, the court has never specified where exactly the right to travel comes from and that could leave room for challenge or revocation, such as the right to have an abortion.
Missouri lawmakers earlier this year, for example, deemed it illegal to “aid or abet” abortions that violate Missouri law, even if they occurred outside the state. The proposal was eventually postponed.
Democrats are drafting more bills for passage in the coming weeks. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat, said Friday that the House of Representatives will vote next week on legislation that guarantees the right to prevent pregnancy.
Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, who supports a nationwide abortion ban, accused colleagues across the aisle Thursday of seeking to “fuel up” the abortion issue. He said proponents of the travel law should ask themselves, “Does a child in the womb have a right to travel in the future?”
Only two Republicans in the Senate, the senator. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins supported abortion rights, but did not support the Democrats’ proposal, calling it far-reaching. They have introduced alternative legislation that would prevent states from placing an “unjustified burden” on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion prior to fetal survival, among other provisions.
When pressed Thursday about whether Democrats should work with two senators, Pelosi responded, “We will not negotiate a woman’s right to choose.”
Since the court ruling last month, some activists have accused Mr. Biden and other top Democrats failed to respond forcefully enough to the decision. The president, who denounced the court’s ruling as “extremist,” last week issued an executive order aimed at avoiding some of the potential penalties women seeking abortions might face. His administration also warned medical providers that an abortion should be performed if the mother’s life was in danger.
However, the mr. Biden emphasized that his ability to protect abortion rights through executive action is limited, and it is up to Congress to provide protections nationwide.
“Ultimately, Congress will have to codify Rowe into federal law,” Biden said last week during a virtual meeting with Democratic governors. He called on Americans to help make that a reality. “We need two more pro-choice senators and one pro-choice Senate to legalize Roe as a federal law,” the president said. “Your vote can make that a reality.”
Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.