House Democrats Pass Bill Codifying Roe v. Wade

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The same bill has been passed by the House once before and failed in the Senate

On July 15, Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to advance a bill that would codify the Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade into law, sending it to the Senate where it is likely to fail.

The bill, dubbed the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), passed the House in a 219–210 vote. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), the only pro-life Democrat in the lower chamber, alone defected from his party in opposition to the bill.

In a floor speech defending the bill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said: “As extreme Republicans continue their assault on reproductive rights, our Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act will ensure that the fundamental right to travel and obtain needed health care remains in the hands of the American people. And our Women’s Health Protection Act will once again make the protections of Roe v. Wade the law of the land.”

However, despite marketing the bill as a codification of Roe v. Wade, this bill goes further.

In the standard set out by Roe, states were prohibited from restricting abortion before the so-called “viability line”—an arbitrary line defining the point at which a baby can survive independently outside of his mother’s womb, and which even top biologists in favor of abortion contest the definition of.

But the WHPA has faced criticism in the past for going beyond codifying the standard set out in Roe v. Wade.

The bill, said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in a speech opposing the bill on the House floor, “goes way further than Roe under the guise of codifying Roe to push some of the most extreme … pro-abortion legislation that we’ve seen.”

Under Democrats’ WHPA, Scalise noted, the U.S. would join the thin ranks of countries like China and North Korea who share a “radical, abortion on demand up until birth policy.”

With the bill’s passage through the House it will now go to the Senate for consideration, where it is likely to fail.

By Joseph Lord

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