After reeling from the loss of Roe v. Wade, House Democrats are intent on enshrining abortion protections into law. They recently passed two pieces of legislation designed to prevent states from enacting laws restricting the practice.
Democratic lawmakers in the lower chamber passed the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 (WHPA) and the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act (EAAA) on Friday. These two bills, if passed by the Senate, would essentially codify Roe into law. It is their second attempt at passing laws that would promote abortion and would even go beyond what Roe allowed.
The WHPA has a variety of provisions designed to further the pro-abortion cause. Among other things, it would abrogate state laws outlawing restrictions before “viability.” It also allows abortions after viability for reasons affecting the “life or health” of the mother, which would be left up to the doctor performing the procedure to define.
The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act would prevent states from passing legislation designed to “prevent, restrict, impede, or retaliate against” a “health care provider’s ability to provide, initiate, or otherwise enable an abortion service that is lawful in the State in which the service is to be provided to a patient who does not reside in that State.” This would mean states could not restrict the distribution of abortion pills. The measure would also allow for late-term dismemberment abortions on babies that are old enough to survive outside the mother’s womb.
Those supporting the measures claim that restricting abortion is “a tool of gender oppressions, as they target health care services that are used primarily by women” and that these laws “harm the basic autonomy, dignity, and equality of women, and their ability to participate in the social and economic life of the Nation.”
Predictably, supporters also went full race baiter by claiming saving babies is somehow racist and perpetuates “systems of … white supremacy, and anti-Black racism.” For people who claim to care so much about black Americans, these people love the idea of killing as many black babies as possible. But I suppose this means they are just trying to honor the racist roots of the pro-abortion movement started by Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who was no fan of black folks.
The bills passed in the House largely along party lines. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) is the only Democrat who voted against the two bills. On the Republican side, Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Fred Upton voted for the bills. But the proposals are not likely to break the 60-vote threshold required to pass it in the Senate.
While the bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate, it does bring up a question as to what Republicans will – or will not – do if they retake both chambers of Congress in the upcoming congressional elections. Democrats are intent on having federal legislation dictating how states handle abortion. But some have speculated that the GOP might try to pass laws that would restrict abortion in all 50 states as well. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled that this is a possibility.
If this happens, it will be yet another victory for the pro-life movement and might prevent Democrats from pushing their agenda when they eventually control Congress. However, others in the GOP might not support federal legislation because they believe decisions on abortion should be decided by the states.
Either way, the overturning of Roe will have significant ramifications over the next few years as both sides battle it out at all levels of government. Conservatives are also looking to gain more ground in the culture war, supporting pro-life organizations like crisis pregnancy centers and pushing messaging to persuade mothers to keep their children.
The other point worth mentioning is that Democrats could be trying to pass this ill-fated legislation to garner favor with voters. Because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the left is trying to make abortion an issue in the upcoming congressional elections. This, and the Jan. 6 hearings, are their desperate attempts to mitigate the political damage they are sure to face in November. However, the fact that Americans are more concerned about the economy and inflation than anything else indicates this is still a losing battle for the Democrats.