Under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats passed two bills on Friday designed to codify elective abortion access nationwide into federal law. The legislation comes in response to the Supreme Court’s decision last month to reverse Roe v. Wade, which had prohibited state regulation of most abortions since 1973.
The first bill they passed is titled the “Women’s Health Protection Act” and will shield health care providers and women seeking to abort their unborn children from all state restrictions. The measure passed 219-210 without any Republican votes.
The House also passed the “Ensuring Access to Abortion Act.” That bill is designed to protect women who travel to other states for abortions from any state law penalties. It passed 223-205 with support from three GOP members, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Fred Upton (R-MI),
Both bills are largely symbolic acts by Democrats to demonstrate indignation that states are again authorized to enact pro-life laws if their citizens direct their local representatives to do so. It appears that the votes on the two abortion bills will give Democrats fund-raising and electioneering opportunities as the midterms approach this fall.
In fact, Pelosi said that the House’s purpose is to make sure voters “remember in November,” since with another two Democratic senators, the party would move toward eliminating the filibuster rule in the upper chamber for abortion legislation.
Although Democrats currently hold a majority in the Senate thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have been steadfast in saying they will not vote to eliminate the filibuster rule that protects whichever party is in the minority at a given time.
The large majority of the Democrat Party has apparently forgotten that they may soon again be in the minority, however. Last month, Joe Biden responded in the immediate aftermath of the end of Roe by calling on the Senate to “suspend” the filibuster rule long enough to enact federal abortion legislation.
As things stand, both bills passed in the House will be dead in the water in the Senate, as the filibuster rule would require at least 60 votes for either to advance there. It is inconceivable that either bill would garner the support of every Democratic senator and at least 10 Republicans.
Meanwhile, the fundraising and fear-mongering is certain to move full steam ahead.