Thursday, December 08, 2022

US House votes to restore abortion rights; Senate Odds Dim

US House votes to restore abortion rights;  Senate Odds Dim

The US House has voted to restore abortion rights nationwide in the Democrats’ first legislative reaction to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

With a 50-50 lack of necessary support in the Senate, the bill has little chance of becoming law. Yet the vote marks the beginning of a new era in debate as lawmakers, governors and legislatures grapple with the impact of the court’s decision.

Law 219-210 was passed. The House also passed a second bill to prohibit punishment for a woman or child who decides to travel to another state to have an abortion, 223-205.

“Just three weeks ago the Supreme Court took a disastrous ball for fundamental rights by overturning Roe v. Wade,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said while gathering with other Democratic women on the steps of the Capitol before the vote. “It is outrageous that 50 years later, women will have to fight again for our most basic rights against an extremist court.”

Republicans spoke out forcefully against the two bills, praising the Supreme Court’s decision and warning that the law would go further than Roe when it comes to legalizing abortion.

Urging her allies not to vote, Washington Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers called abortion “the biggest human rights issue of our generation.”

She said the Democratic law “has nothing to do with protecting women’s health. It has everything to do with imposing extreme agendas on the American people.”

By reversing the row, the court has allowed states to impose stricter abortion limits, including many that were previously deemed unconstitutional. The decision is expected to ban abortion in almost half of the states.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Of California Speaks At An Event Ahead Of A House Vote On The Women'S Health Protection Act And Ensuring Women'S Right To Reproductive Freedom In The Capitol In Washington On July 15, 2022.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California speaks at an event ahead of a House vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act and ensuring women’s right to reproductive freedom in the Capitol in Washington on July 15, 2022.

Already, many Republican-controlled states have moved swiftly to prohibit or prevent abortion, while Democrat-controlled states have sought to champion access. Voters now regard 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 for the midterm elections.

This is the second time the House has passed a bill that would expand on protections that Roe previously provided, which supporters say are medically unnecessary restrictions that block access to safe and accessible abortion. This would prevent a ban on abortion before 24 weeks, which is when fetal viability, the human embryo’s ability to survive outside the uterus, usually begins. It allows exceptions for abortions after the viability of the fetus when a provider determines that the life or health of the mother is at risk.

Democrats’ proposal would also prevent states from requiring providers to share “medically incorrect” information, or from requiring additional tests or waiting periods, often aimed at preventing a patient from having an abortion.

The bill prohibiting punishment for traveling outside the state would specify that doctors cannot be penalized for providing fertility care outside their home state. One of the bill’s authors, Democratic Representative Lizzie Fletcher of Texas, said the threat to travel “failed to reflect the fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution.”

Democrats have uncovered the case of a 10-year-old girl who had to cross the state border in Indiana to have an abortion after being raped, an example of how the court’s decision is already having dire consequences.

“We don’t have to think about why it matters. We don’t have to make hypothetical guesses. We already know what happened,” Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar said on the Senate floor Thursday.

“Should that jeopardize the right of a 10-year-old, or the right of a 12-year-old, or the right to care for a 14-year-old?”

The Constitution does not explicitly state that travel between states is a right, although the Supreme Court has stated that it is a right that is “strongly established and recognized time and again.” Yet the court never said where the right to travel came from and could leave it open to challenge or abolition, as did the right to abortion.

For example, earlier this year Missouri lawmakers considered making it illegal to “aid or abet” abortions that violate Missouri law, even if they were out-of-state. The proposal was eventually shelved.

Democrats have more bills set to pass in the coming weeks. Maryland Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday that the House will vote next week on legislation guaranteeing the right to contraception.

Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, who supports a nationwide ban on abortion, on Thursday accused his aides of trying to “inflame” the abortion issue. He said supporters of the Travel Bill should ask themselves, “Does the unborn child have the right to travel in his future?”

Only two Senate Republicans, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, are supporting abortion rights, but they do not support the Democrat’s proposal, calling it too far-reaching. They have introduced alternative legislation that would prevent states from placing an “undue burden” on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion prior to the viability of the fetus, among other provisions.

When pressed on Thursday whether Democrats should work with the two senators, Pelosi pushed back, “We’re not going to negotiate a woman’s right to choose.”

Since the court’s decision last month, some activists have accused President Joe Biden and other top Democrats of failing to respond adequately to the decision. Biden, who last week described the court’s decision as “extreme,” issued an executive order aimed at allowing women seeking abortions to face some potential penalties. Her administration has also warned medical providers to offer abortions if the mother’s life is in danger.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee has already launched a digital advertising campaign to energize voters on the issue, warning that Republicans’ ultimate goal is to stop abortion nationwide.

“We have to elect a few more Democratic senators so that we can get around the filibuster so that we can pass legislation that really affects a woman’s right to be elected,” she said. “There’s no half way.”

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.`

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