Senate Democrats Reintroduce Radical Women’s Health Protection Act

Anti-abortion supporters rallied at the Capitol during the California March for Life held
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Senate Democrats reintroduced the Women’s Health Protection Act on Wednesday, a radical piece of legislation which would usurp states’ ability to pass strong pro-life laws and would allow abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

Democrats who support the bill — which previously passed the once-Democrat-controlled House but failed the Senate — claim it would codify the supposed constitutional right to abortion granted under the Supreme Court’s now-defunct 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. In reality, the bill goes much further than Roe v. Wade, which is why Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted against the bill in May of 2022.

“The bill we have today to vote on, the Women’s Health Protection Act, and I respect people who support it, but make no mistake — it is not Roe v. Wade codification. It is an expansion,” Manchin said at the time. “It wipes 500 — 500 state laws off the books. It expands abortion.”

Indeed, the 2023 version of the Women’s Health Protection Act includes a section which states that the law “shall supersede any inconsistent Federal or State law” and that federal and state government officials “administer, implement, or enforce any law, rule, regulation, standard or other provision having the force and effect of law that conflict with any provision of this Act, notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.”

The senators who introduced the bill, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), said the reintroduction of the legislation is in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to return the issue of abortion to individual states. Feinstein’s office lamented that the Supreme Court’s decision enabled state legislatures across the country to introduce “hundreds of bills” to protect unborn babies from abortion — pro-life victories which would be snuffed out by the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act.

“The Women’s Health Protection Act would reverse the death sentence handed down to American women when the Supreme Court overturned fifty years of precedent in Roe. The heart of the Women’s Health Protection Act is reproductive justice — the fundamental right to safely choose if or when to have children, and the freedom to make that choice no matter who you are or where you live,” cosponsor Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) hyperbolically claimed.

“It will reverse the draconian and devastating bans and restrictions that fall on all women, and disproportionately on Black and Latina people, individuals with lower incomes, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and so many others who face barriers to care. This issue is about more than health care; it is about women’s rights, individual rights, and human rights,” Blumenthal continued.

The bill specifically bars states from limiting or banning abortions before fetal “viability,” which Senate Democrats define as “the point in a pregnancy at which, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, and based on the particular facts of the case before the health care provider, there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained fetal survival outside the uterus with or without artificial support.”

The legislation would also ban limits on telemedicine-facilitated abortions and abortion pills, as well as traveling out of state for abortions. The bill also says states cannot require abortion providers to perform specific test and procedures before or after an abortion unless comparable procedures require them, and they cannot make providers give women “medically inaccurate information” — a term which appears to be subject to the interpretation of lawmakers who deny the science of life in the womb.

Furthermore, the bill would bar states from requiring “medically unnecessary in-person visits” and requirements for patients with a “pre-viability” pregnancy to disclose their reasons for seeking an abortion.

For a “post-viability” pregnancy, which involves an unborn baby that could survive outside the womb, the bill declares a right to an abortion when “in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, it is necessary to protect the life or health of the patient.” However, states would be allowed to “provide additional circumstance under which post-viability abortions are permitted under this paragraph.”

Republicans have previously pegged the legislation as an effort to undermine the will of voters in Republican-led states. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who voted against the bill last year, said it “would disenfranchise every voter in Missouri, overturn our state laws — and give the power to DC Democrats.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said at the time the legislation is a “continuation of the left’s mission to undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and prop up their abortion-on-demand agenda.”

“This bill would force states to legalize late-term abortions, remove informed consent laws, and prevent restrictions on gruesome fetal dismemberment procedures,” Blackburn said.


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