The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote Friday on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which will essentially codify Roe v. Wade, and then some, thus enshrining a so-called right to an abortion into federal law. While the legislation has been introduced for several congresses, it is gaining traction now that Democrats are in control of the House, Senate, and White House. Democrats have also become emboldened after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed for a Texas abortion law to go into effect which restricts abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, at around six weeks.
The legislation has support from the White House as well as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), according to Alex Gangitano’s reporting for The Hill. During the 2020 campaign, now President Joe Biden communicated support for codifying Roe, which was also mentioned on his campaign website.
Pro-life organizations are warning of the steep ramifications in that it will overturn pro-life success.
The text of the bill itself reads that “A health care provider has a statutory right under this Act to provide abortion services, and may provide abortion services, and that provider’s patient has a corresponding right to receive such services, without any of the following limitations or requirements,” before going on to list numerous examples of pro-life regulations and restrictions on abortions.
It also states that “this Act supersedes and applies to the law of the Federal Government and each State government…”
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Commentary from Melanie Israel at the Heritage Foundation highlights how it amounts to more than just codifying Roe. She writes that the “egregious mischaracterization… understates just how radical the proposal actually is” and warns that the legislation “goes far beyond the already permissive regime permitted under America’s existing abortion jurisprudence.”
She also notes, under a headline of “More Radical Than Roe” that:
The Women’s Health Protection Act would expressly prohibit existing laws that regulate abortion and the abortion industry. The bill bans informed consent requirements, reflection periods, and provisions that give women the opportunity to view an image of their unborn child or listen to the child’s heartbeat.
The proposed federal policy would also preempt policies like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which currently protects women and their unborn children in more than a dozen states from inhumane late-term abortions performed after 20 weeks. The scientific evidence suggests that a baby can feel excruciating pain during an abortion procedure performed after 20 weeks.
A report from Israel on the subject also highlights how the legislation even goes beyond the narrow scope laid out by the Supreme Court:
Through numerous references to “medically comparable procedures,” the bill ignores long-established precedent that abortion is, in the words of the Supreme Court, a “unique act” and “inherently different from other medical procedures.” Moreover, the bill makes no reference to the second human being directly affected by the abortion procedure: the unborn child. (This is a change from versions of the bill introduced in earlier Congresses, which used the term “fetus” in the definition of abortion.)
Heritage Action has also weighed in on the bill to oppose it, and is including this “key vote” on their legislative scorecard. Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson told Townhall that “The Left is disguising H.R.3755 as a ‘women’s health’ bill, but this proposal would put important state-level pro-life laws at risk. This bill is a key component of the Left’s anti-life agenda and has the backing of a well-funded abortion lobby. We are urging all members to stand on the side of life and oppose this inhumane bill.”
Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee issued a letter to members of Congress and a fact-sheet opposing the legislation. In a statement, Penny Nance, the group’s CEO and president, said, with original emphasis:
“With this bill, the Democrat party has rejected every restraint on abortion. For them, aborting unborn children is nothing more than just another medical procedure. It’s a sick perspective that reflects the moral bankruptcy of their party, and it is infecting our country. Democrats exalt aborting babies as the ultimate empowerment of a self-made life. God weeps.
“Supporters of this tragic legislation want young women to believe having a baby is a cold calculation of convenience and capacity, not a unique life to be cared for and cherished. They are leading our culture to certain destruction.
“Concerned Women for America’s mighty prayer warriors are on our knees against the evil of abortion. We firmly believe in the power of prayer and action. You can rest assured that we will not only remain prayerful, but we will also hold our legislators accountable for this vote.”
Matt Hadro with Catholic News Agency highlighted the response from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which refers to the bill as “the most radical abortion bill of all time.” Archbishop Joseph Naumann, the chair of the USCCB’s pro-life committee called it a “deceptively-named, extreme bill [that] would impose abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy through federal statute.”
When it comes to the significance of such legislation and the future of abortion politics in the country, Rachel Roubein on Wednesday said “It’s the war of all abortion wars” and that “This may be the most consequential moment for abortion in decades.” She also noted that “This week is a prime example of the battle that will only intensify over the next year.”
Despite the gendered language in the title, and claim that “Abortion-specific restrictions are a tool of gender oppression,” the text nevertheless seeks a way to appease the woke crowd:
The terms “woman” and “women” are used in this bill to reflect the identity of the majority of people targeted and affected by restrictions on abortion services, and to address squarely the targeted restrictions on abortion, which are rooted in misogyny. However, access to abortion services is critical to the health of every person capable of becoming pregnant. This Act is intended to protect all people with the capacity for pregnancy—cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, those who identify with a different gender, and others—who are unjustly harmed by restrictions on abortion services.
The bill’s text also acknowledges and is fearful of pro-life gains at the state levels, noting that “Since 2011, States and local governments have passed nearly 500 restrictions…” The abortion movement also sounded the alarm earlier this year when, as Townhall reported, 536 state abortion regulation laws across 46 states had already been introduced from January to April 2021.
ACTION ALERT: Contact U.S. House lawmakers and tell them to vote NO on this radical pro-abortion legislation.
LifeNews Note: Rebecca Downs writes for TownHall, where this column originally appeared.