UPDATED 9:25 AM PT – Saturday, September 25, 2021
The Women’s Health and Protection Act passed the House in a 218 to 211 vote. The bill is in response to the Texas abortion law, SB8, and is the legislature’s attempt to block the state’s legislation where the Supreme Court didn’t. Since Roe v. Wade led the Supreme Court to rule abortions to be constitutional in 1973, Democrats have claimed the Texas law violates the Constitution.
The bill, which received only Democrat support, would provide federal oversight for abortion laws nationwide. Introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D) of California, the act aims to eliminate mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods and pre-abortion counseling. Chu claimed the Texas law has an unrealistic time span to detect pregnancies and levels severe penalties against abortion facilitators.
“At six weeks, before most women know that they are pregnant, with no exception for incest or rape. But it’s not an outlier,” claimed Chu. “The other hundreds of anti-choice laws that have been adopted have chipped away at Roe and they’re all based in some way on bullying or harassing patients or doctors.”
Prior to the vote, the House floor was filled with emotionally charged testimonies from both the pro-choice and pro-life camps. Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) used a personal experience to illustrate her belief of fetuses being human lives.
I was proud to voice my opposition to the “Abortion on Demand Act.” It is an honor to represent the lives of the unborn in Congress, and I will always fight for their well-being. pic.twitter.com/kjsC1w1lL9
— Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (@RepBethVanDuyne) September 24, 2021
“I, like many women, suffered a miscarriage. I should have been able to hold my son in my arms but that was not God’s plan,” said Van Duyne. “Years later, I still grieve that loss and not the loss of a generic ‘cluster of cells,’ but an actual baby.”
Proponents of the bill, however, claimed women living in abortion restrictive states will be put at risk by pursuing illegal methods of pregnancy termination. In the meantime, the bill will advance to the Senate where it will likely face harsh opposition from Republicans.