House passes bill to protect abortion rights in response to restrictive Texas law

3 weeks ago
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a quality league astir the House ballot connected H.R. 3755, the "Women's Health Protection Act" authorities to "establish a federally protected close to termination access" astatine the Capitol successful Washington, U.S., September 24, 2021.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

House Democrats connected Friday approved wide-ranging authorities to support termination rights, a swift but mostly symbolic effect to the Supreme Court's refusal to artifact a Texas instrumentality banning astir abortions.

The bill, which passed 218-211, is principally a amusement of solidarity fixed that the bill, the Women's Health Protection Act, volition look steep absorption from Senate Republicans and is not expected to beforehand done the chamber.

Democrats judge the measure would warrant the close to termination done national instrumentality and cement the determination of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court determination that established a law close to the procedure.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., worked rapidly to docket enactment connected the measure aft the precocious tribunal earlier this period refused to artifact a arguable Texas instrumentality that prohibits abortions aft astir six weeks, earlier astir recognize they are pregnant.

Specifically, the Texas instrumentality says doctors whitethorn not execute abortions if a fetal heartbeat tin beryllium detected, enactment that usually begins astatine astir six weeks of gestation. That instrumentality went into effect connected Sept. 1.

The Texas instrumentality does not marque exceptions for pregnancies the effect of rape oregon incest, and is unprecedented successful deputizing backstage citizens to writer anyone who performs the process oregon "aids and abets" it.

Pelosi offered comments anterior to the bill's transition Friday greeting and offered a pointed rebuke to the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision earlier this month. The justices who voted not to artifact the instrumentality focused connected procedural questions and stressed that they person yet to justice the constitutionality of the law.

"This is astir freedom. About state of women to person prime astir the size and timing of their families, not the concern of radical connected the [Supreme] Court oregon members of Congress," the House talker said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington and chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus, said from the House level that she has received an termination and urged chap lawmakers not to criminalize the procedure.

"One successful 4 women crossed America person had an abortion. I americium 1 of them," she said anterior to the bill's passage. "Terminating my pregnancy, Madam Speaker, was not an casual prime for me. But it was my choice. It is clip to sphere that for each people."

Despite its agelong likelihood successful the Senate, the House-approved measure whitethorn supply Democrats with substance successful the 2022 midterms and a beardown talking constituent for voters who presumption the Supreme Court's caller determination arsenic eroding rights galore believed to beryllium settled law.

Republicans, including Rep. Julia Letlow of Louisiana, protested the measure up of the House ballot and argued that it goes beyond the Roe decision.

Specifically, members of the GOP accidental the measure strips states of their quality to regularisation abortion. They besides reason that the measurement would forestall states from introducing measures to marque abortions safer and pb to galore much procedures successful the precocious stages of pregnancy.

"As a woman, and astir importantly, a parent of 2 children, I consciousness uniquely qualified to talk astir this," Letlow said from the House floor.

"The authorities earlier america is possibly the astir utmost termination measurement that Congress has ever considered," she added. "It volition overturn countless protections for the unborn that states person already enactment into place."

The Senate, narrowly controlled by Democrats, whitethorn not instrumentality up the measure since it remains unclear whether a bulk of the enclosure supports it.

Two Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, person not joined the remainder of their colleagues successful cosponsoring the Senate's mentation of the measure and are expected to reason it. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who has supported termination rights successful the past, has reportedly said she will not enactment the measure successful its existent form.

Even if Democrats managed to scrap unneurotic a bulk of the Senate, it is astir definite that Republicans would filibuster the measure and forestall it from advancing with little than 60 votes.

A radical of termination providers and advocates asked the Supreme Court connected Thursday to rapidly reappraisal their situation to the Texas law.

Rather than effort again to temporarily artifact the Texas law, Thursday's petition asked the Supreme Court to assistance a petition to reappraisal their case. Abortion rights advocates requested the precocious tribunal to instrumentality up the lawsuit quickly, alternatively than hold for last judgement successful an appeals court.