The Republican-led House on Tuesday passed a far-reaching anti-abortion bill that conservatives saw as a milestone in their 40-year campaign against legalized abortion and Democrats condemned as yet another example of the GOP war on women.
The legislation, sparked by the murder conviction of a Philadelphia late-term abortion provider, would restrict almost all abortions to the first 20 weeks after conception, defying laws in most states that allow abortions up to when the fetus becomes viable, usually considered to be around 24 weeks.
It mirrors 20-week abortion ban laws passed by some states, and lays further groundwork for the ongoing legal battle that abortion foes hope will eventually result in forcing the Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal.
It passed 228-196, with 6 Democrats voting for it and 6 Republicans voting against it.
Congressman Ron Barber's reaction:
As the father of two strong women and grandfather of three granddaughters, I oppose any effort to put government in charge of a woman’s private medical decisions.
We must protect the right of every woman to make her health care decisions with her doctor—and without interference by politicians in Washington. Only she can decide what is best for her or her family.
Congressman Raul Grijalva's statement:
Republicans are once again trying to restrict the rights of American women to make medical decisions. It’s obvious they haven’t listened to the American people in pursuing this unconstitutional waste of time. It’s less obvious who they think they’re serving with this.
Women who seek these services are often in extreme economic straits or have discovered serious health risks in their pregnancy. In defending the bill, the author said the incidence of pregnancies from sexual violence is "very low." I suggest he tell that to the 30,000 women across the country who give birth as a result of rape each year.
After receiving heavy public condemnation, Republicans introduced an exception for victims of rape. This is too little, too late. We cannot allow the conversation we have about reproductive health to be driven by men who so easily dismiss victims of rape. The women and men of this country are watching this debate. Last-minute fig leaves aren’t going to cut it.
Despite their endless promises to the contrary, Republicans won’t focus on job creation. The House has now voted 37 times to repeal Obamacare, which prevents insurance companies from charging women more for the same coverage they offer men. Now we’re voting on a bill to restrict women’s rights to make health care decisions. Where are the jobs?
It’s time to stop hurting America’s women and put people back to work.