The House of Representatives may soon vote on an abortion bill that critics say would go far beyond a mere codification of Roe v. Wade into law.
The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, also known as H.R. 3755, could be voted on as early as this week. In early September House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill would face a vote sometime after the end of the chamber’s recess on Sept. 20.
H.R. 3755, introduced by Rep. Judy Chu of California and co-sponsored by 214 other Democrats, claims health care providers and patients alike have a “statutory right” to provide and receive an abortion.
The bill also lists several “limitations” or “requirements” that cannot be enacted to impede this “right,” such as certain tests or procedures, “medically unnecessary” visits, and “pre-viability” abortion bans.
Unsurprisingly, the Biden administration has lent its support to the Women’s Health Protection Act. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget wrote in a statement that “in the wake of Texas’ unprecedented attack, it has never been more important to codify this constitutional right and to strengthen health care access for all women, regardless of where they live.”
Some critics of the bill, however, say it does more than just codify Roe v. Wade. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., claims the bill “mandates an abortion regime that would be far more radical than the status quo.”
“It would endanger essentially all state-level abortion laws protecting the unborn and women’s health — including from inhumane late-term abortion procedures — as well as existing state and federal laws protecting medical providers’ consciences and religious liberty and various provisions limiting taxpayer funding for abortions,” writes Heritage policy analyst Melanie Israel.
Echoing these sentiments was Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee, who called H.R. 3755 “extreme” and “radically out of step with the American public.”
“This deceptively-named, extreme bill would impose abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy through federal statute,” he wrote in a letter to the House. “It would force all Americans to support abortions here and abroad with their tax dollars. It would also likely force health care providers and professionals to perform, assist in, and/or refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as force employers and insurers to cover or pay for abortion.”
As with most major legislation backed exclusively by Democrats, Senate Republicans will likely filibuster H.R. 3755 if it passes the House. And even if Republicans had no recourse to the filibuster, it appears that Senate Democrats would still need to persuade Sens. Joe Manchin and Bob Casey to vote for the bill. They are currently not listed as co-sponsors on the Senate’s companion bill, according to The Hill.