House of Representatives passes abortion rights bill as U.S. Supreme Court prepares to weigh the issue
WASHINGTON, DC – The United States House of Representatives on Friday approved a bill that would prevent states from restricting access to abortion and establish a statutory right to provide and receive abortion care because of States like Texas pass bills that make the process virtually inaccessible.
All Ohio Democrats supported the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” which passed in a vote of 218 to 211. Republicans across the state opposed it.
Supporters of the bill said it would codify the abortion right established by the United States Supreme Court in 1973. Roe vs. Wade decision, which procedural enemies hope the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn after reviewing the legality of a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. The Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health laws across the country, ranks Ohio among more than 20 states likely to ban abortion if Roe vs. Wade is knocked down.
At a press conference ahead of the vote, supporters of the bill said it was passed to show Americans support the Roe vs. Wade decision-making and want women to be able to make their own health care decisions. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said the bill’s passage was about “freedom.”
âThe freedom of women to have the choice of the size and timing of their families, not the affairs of people on the ground or members of Congress,â Pelosi said.
Republican United States Rep from Texas Beth Van Duyne argued in the House of Representatives that the bill would allow “killing for convenience.”
âAmerica is built on protecting life,â said Van Duyne, who held a fetal doll as she spoke.
A statement by U.S. Bowling Green GOP Representative Bob Latta called the bill “radically out of step with the American public” and said state-imposed abortion restrictions would make “the protections illegal. for babies with Down syndrome and other life-altering conditions or disabilities. âLatta voted by proxy because he is in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus earlier this week.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, co-sponsored the Senate counterpart in legislation, but it is unlikely to be voted on in a legislative body where Republicans can prevent him from speaking.
Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette told reporters the House âdoesn’t do what we do, thinking about what might happen in the Senate.
“We hope that when the Senate sees that this historic vote has taken place in the House, it will act on it,” DeGette said.
The Biden administration issued a statement to strongly support passage of the bill, and said the Texas law “flagrantly violates existing Supreme Court precedent established under Roe vs. Wade nearly half a century ago â,â severely impedes women’s access to essential reproductive health care âandâ turns private citizens into bounty hunters who have the power to sue anyone who , according to them, assisted another person to have an abortion, including family members, religious leaders, transporters and health care providers.
“Following the unprecedented attack in Texas, it has never been more important to codify this constitutional right and to strengthen access to health care for all women, regardless of their place of residence,” indicates the press release.
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