House votes to restore abortion rights, Senate odds dim

Jul 14, 2022, 9:06 AM | Updated: Jul 17, 2022, 3:15 am
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by female House Democrats, speaks at an event ahe...

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by female House Democrats, speaks at an event ahead of a House vote on the Women's Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Women's Right to Reproductive Freedom Act at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, July 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has voted to restore abortion rights nationwide in Democrats’ first legislative response to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

The bill has little chance of becoming law, with the necessary support lacking in the 50-50 Senate. Yet voting marks the beginning of a new era in the debate as lawmakers, governors and legislatures grapple with the impact of the court’s decision.

The legislation passed 219-210. The House also passed a second bill to prohibit punishment for a woman or child who decides to travel to another state to get an abortion, 223-205.

“Just three weeks ago the Supreme Court took a wrecking ball to the fundamental rights by overturning Roe v. Wade,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of the votes, gathering with other Democratic women on the steps of the Capitol. “It is outrageous that 50 years later, women must again fight for our most basic rights against an extremist court.”

Republicans spoke forcefully against the two bills, praising the Supreme Court’s decision and warning that the legislation would go further than Roe ever did when it comes to legalizing abortion.

Urging her colleagues to vote no, Washington GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers called abortion “the greatest human rights issue of our generation.”

She said the Democratic legislation “has nothing to do with protecting the health of women. It has everything to do with forcing an extreme agenda on the American people.”

The White House hailed Friday’s votes as an “important step.”

“These bills would ensure women’s access to essential health care services, regardless of where they live, and protect the bedrock right to cross state lines for medical care,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “A majority of Americans across the country support them.” She called the GOP’s refusal to support the bills “extreme” and “out of touch.”

By overturning Roe, the court has allowed states to enact strict abortion limits, including many that had previously been deemed unconstitutional. The ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

Already, a number of GOP-controlled states have moved quickly to curtail or outlaw abortion, while states controlled by Democrats have sought to champion access. Voters now rank abortion as among the most pressing issues facing the country, a shift in priorities that Democrats hope will reshape the political landscape in their favor for the midterm elections.

This is the second time the House has passed the bill, which would expand on the protections Roe had previously provided by banning what supporters say are medically unnecessary restrictions that block access to safe and accessible abortions. It would prevent abortion bans earlier than 24 weeks, which is when fetal viability, the ability of a human fetus to survive outside the uterus, is generally thought to begin. It allows exceptions for abortions after fetal viability when a provider determines the life or health of the mother is at risk.

The Democrats’ proposal would also prevent states from requiring providers to share “medically inaccurate” information, or from requiring additional tests or waiting periods, often aimed at dissuading a patient from having an abortion.

The bill that would prohibit punishment for traveling out of state would specify that doctors can’t be punished for providing reproductive care outside their home state. Democratic Rep. Lizzie Fletcher of Texas, one of the bill’s authors, said the threats to travel “fail to reflect the fundamental rights that are granted in our Constitution.”

Democrats have highlighted the case of a 10-year-old girl who had to cross state lines into Indiana to get an abortion after being raped, calling it an example of how the court’s decision is already having severe consequences.

“We don’t have to imagine why this might matter. We don’t need to conjure up hypotheticals. We already know what’s happened,” Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Thursday on the Senate floor.

“Should the next little 10-year-old’s right or 12-year-old’s right or 14-year-old’s right to get the care that she desperately needs be put in jeopardy?”

The Constitution doesn’t explicitly say travel between states is a right, though the Supreme Court has said it is a right that “has been firmly established and repeatedly recognized.” Yet the court has never said exactly where the right to travel comes from and that could leave it open to challenge or elimination, as the right to an abortion was.

Lawmakers in Missouri earlier this year, for example, considered making it illegal to “aid or abet” abortions that violate Missouri law, even if they occur out of state. The proposal was ultimately shelved.

Democrats have teed up more bills for passage in the coming weeks. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Friday that the House will vote next week on legislation guaranteeing a right to contraception.

GOP Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who supports instituting a nationwide ban on abortion, accused his colleagues across the aisle Thursday of seeking to “inflame” the issue of abortion. He said proponents of the travel bill should ask themselves, “Does the child in the womb have the right to travel in their future?”

Only two Senate Republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, have been supportive of abortion rights, but they do not support the Democrats’ proposal, calling it too far-reaching. They have introduced alternative legislation that would bar states from placing an “undue burden” on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion before fetal viability, among other provisions.

When pressed Thursday on whether Democrats should work with the two senators, Pelosi pushed back, “We’re not going to negotiate a woman’s right to choose.”

Since the court’s ruling last month, some activists have accused President Joe Biden and other top Democrats of failing to respond forcefully enough to the decision. Biden, who denounced the court’s ruling as “extreme,” last week issued an executive order intended to head off some potential penalties that women seeking abortion may face. His administration has also warned medical providers that they must offer abortion if the life of the mother is at risk.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee has already launched a digital ad campaign to energize voters on the issue, warning that Republicans’ ultimate goal is to outlaw abortion nationwide.

“We have to elect a couple more Democratic senators so that we can get around the filibuster so that we can pass legislation that truly impacts a woman’s right to choose,” she said. “There’s no halfway measure.”

___

Associated Press writer Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Police ID man accused of firing shots inside Mall of America

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Police on Monday identified a fugitive accused of firing shots inside the Mall of America last week before fleeing the suburban Minneapolis shopping complex with the help of several accomplices. Bloomington police say Shamar Alon Lark, 21, of Minneapolis, fired three rounds in front of a Nike store following a fight involving […]
16 hours ago
FILE - This undated photo provided by the Hawaii Police Department shows actor Ezra Miller who was ...
Associated Press

Ezra Miller charged with felony burglary in Vermont

Actor Ezra Miller has been charged with felony burglary in Stamford, Vermont, the latest in a string of incidents involving the embattled star of “The Flash.” In a report Monday, Vermont State Police said they responded to a burglary complaint in Stamford on May 1 and found several bottles of alcohol were taken from a […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Scott Crow, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, speaks during a news confere...
Associated Press

Oklahoma prisons director who oversaw executions retiring

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow, who helped oversee the state’s return to carrying out the death penalty after a nearly seven-year hiatus, announced Monday he’s stepping down. In a statement announcing his resignation, Crow did not cite a reason for stepping down, but called it “one of the most […]
16 hours ago
Yaser Said, 65, right, accused of killing his two teen daughters on New Year's Day 2008, takes the ...
Associated Press

Man on trial in Texas says he did not kill 2 teen daughters

DALLAS (AP) — A man accused of fatally shooting his two teenage daughters in a taxi in the Dallas area in 2008 told jurors in his capital murder trial on Monday that he fled the vehicle before they were killed because he thought someone wanted to kill him. “Definitely not, I did not kill my […]
16 hours ago
The shoulder patch of a Mississippi Highway Patrol officer is photographed during a ceremony in Jac...
Associated Press

Viral video of Mississippi arrest sparks investigation

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — An incident involving a white Mississippi Highway Patrol officer and three Black men is under investigation after a viral video showed the officer putting a handcuffed man into a chokehold and wrestling him into a ditch. The video, captured Friday in McComb by a man named Packer Lewis, sparked outrage over […]
16 hours ago
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams speaks during a news c...
Associated Press

Cambodian ambassador: Looted artworks are ‘souls’ of culture

NEW YORK (AP) — Cambodia’s ambassador to the United States said Monday that the transfer of 30 antiquities by U.S. law enforcement authorities to his country was a return of the “souls of our culture.” Ambassador Keo Chhea spoke at a ceremony where a 10th Century sculpture, “Skanda on a Peacock,” was among several works […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
House votes to restore abortion rights, Senate odds dim