House Democrats passed the Women’s Health Protection Act on Friday, in a move to secure abortion rights at the federal level, by a vote of 218-211.
218-211: House passes legislation prohibiting states from enacting restrictions on abortions on a near party line vote. Speaker Pelosi, who voted Yes, announced the vote from the chair. California Democratic Rep. Judy Chu's Women’s Health Protection Act now heads to the Senate. pic.twitter.com/0MU90TdLYx— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) September 24, 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the bill, that takes abortion access further than simply codifying Roe v. Wade, is about "freedom."
"This is about freedom," Pelosi said during a press conference ahead of the vote on Friday. "About freedom of women to have a choice, that the size and timing of their families is not the business of people on the court or members of Congress."
The bill would allow abortion up until birth and ban states from enacting common-sense restrictions, as Republicans noted in their opposition to the bill.
Democrats are pushing a radical pro-abortion bill, the so-called Women's Health Protection Act, which would allow abortion on demand up until the moment of birth.— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) September 24, 2021
This is a radical policy that simply does not respect the sanctity of life.
House Democrats’ Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act removes nearly all pro-life protections for the unborn.— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) September 24, 2021
The House's passage sends the bill to the Senate, where the legislation is viewed as dead-on-arrival. The Senate Democratic caucus is not entirely united behind the bill, and no Republicans have offered support. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who at times crosses the aisle on the issue of abortion, said that the bill goes well beyond codifying Roe.
“I support codifying Roe. Unfortunately the bill…goes way beyond that," Collins told the LA Times earlier this week. She added that the bill would "severely weaken the conscious exceptions that are in the current law,” and that certain aspects of the bill’s language are “extreme.”
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on a controversial law in Mississippi that implements strict regulations on abortions; the court's decision to hear the case gives potential for Roe to be overturned.