House Bill Guarantees Women's Right to Abortion

But measure to codify Roe v. Wade is almost certain to fail in the Senate
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2021 12:29 PM CDT
House Passes Bill to Guarantee Access to Abortion
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, joined by Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., right, holds a news conference just before a House vote Friday on legislation aimed at guaranteeing a woman's right to an abortion.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House on Friday passed a bill that would guarantee women can have abortions if they choose, though the legislation will likely end up being only a symbolic victory for advocates. As NPR reports, the measure is doomed to near-certain failure in the Senate, where it needs not only the support of every Democrat but an additional 10 Republicans. What's more, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania are expected to oppose it anyway. Details:

  • Lone holdout: The Women's Health Protection Act passed the House by a vote of 218-211, with every Democrat but one voting in favor. The holdout was conservative Democrat Henry Cuellar of Texas, notes the Hill.

  • Rationale: The legislation would essentially codify Roe v. Wade into law, ensuring that women have access to abortions before viability, or about 22 to 24 weeks, per the Washington Post. Nancy Pelosi vowed to pass the measure after Texas implemented what's considered the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, barring them after six or seven weeks. Advocates of abortion rights also fear that the Supreme Court will dismantle or at least defang Roe v. Wade.
  • Debate: Democrats and Republicans made familiar arguments in the debate over the bill. Republican Beth Van Duyne held a doll depicting a baby in the fetal position, per the Post, while Democrat Sylvia Garcia held up a wire hanger and said "we will not go back" to the days of dangerous, illegal abortions.
  • Susan Collins: The vote of Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins is being closely watched, and she's in the "no" camp. As the AP reports, Collins supports the idea of codifying Roe v. Wade, but she says the House bill goes too far and doesn't protect health-care providers who object to performing abortions on religious or moral grounds.
(More abortion stories.)

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