Sen. Bob Casey Jr., who claims he is one of two pro-life Democrats in the Senate, said Friday that he will vote with his party to advance a radical pro-abortion bill that would force states to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions up to birth.
Casey’s statement casts further doubt on his commitment to unborn babies’ right to life. It appears the Pennsylvania Democrat, who recently was seen at a pro-abortion group’s fundraiser, is caving to party pressure to support abortion on demand.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture to advance the misnamed Women’s Health Protection Act, saying “a woman’s right to choose is a fundamental right.” He plans to hold a vote Feb. 28.
Democrat leaders and many mainstream news outlets portray the bill as an effort to simply “codify the right to an abortion” across the U.S. in response to the likelihood that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade this year. But pro-life leaders say the bill would go beyond Roe by nullifying state laws that protect unborn babies from late-term and partial-birth abortions.
The bill passed the House last year, but it is not expected to pass the Senate, which Democrats control by only a narrow majority. However, Casey’s decision to support advancing the bill for debate came as a surprise to many.
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“Given the recent Supreme Court rulings, potential rulings this year, and the Republican Party’s clear and unrelenting use of this issue as a political weapon, I will vote ‘yes’ to allow debate on this bill,” Casey said in a statement.
He also emphasized his “long” commitment to reducing unplanned pregnancies and abortions, and his hope that debate on the bill “will also focus on new and substantial funding for pregnant women, infants and children.”
But Townhall writer Rebecca Downs pointed out that the bill would not do any of these things.
“Nowhere in the bill’s text, however, which reads as extreme as one can get when it comes to promoting abortion, is there mention of reducing abortions or for looking after pregnant women, infants, and children other than to impose abortion on them,” Downs wrote.
Casey did not say if he would support the bill itself, and he is not a sponsor of it. Recently, however, his voting record has leaned more pro-abortion than pro-life.
According to Townhall:
NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Sen. Casey a 72 percent rating in 2020, while Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s rating for him for 2021-2022 was 67 percent.
The Family Research Council (FRC) Action, gave him an 11 percent rating for 2021, while the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) gave him a 25 percent rating for that year. The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) meanwhile gave him a 0 percent rating.
Pro-life leaders expressed shock and disappointment at the senator’s announcement.
“We are deeply disappointed with Senator Bob Casey’s decision to vote ‘yes’ for debate for a measure that should be called ‘The Abortion Without Limits Bill,’” Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told Townhall. “The bill would codify the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 63 million preborn children and has devastated countless mothers who are left to grieve children lost to abortion.”
Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser slammed Casey’s flip-flop as a “disgrace,” noting that his father, the late Gov. Bob Casey Sr., was a champion for unborn babies.
“Senator Casey’s flip to supporting abortion on demand is a disgrace to the legacy of his hero father. Like that of Joe Biden, it exposes how the Democratic Party has caved to pro-abortion extremism,” Dannenfelser said. “Now with millions of lives at stake in the Dobbs case, he stands with Chuck Schumer and the abortion lobby to advance the ‘Abortion Until Birth Act’ …”
And Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, said she was shocked by the Pennsylvania senator’s announcement.
“Did someone hack @SenBobCasey?” Day responded on Twitter. “Surely he is not supporting abortion extremism? Surely he is not saying that prioritizing abortion will bring a discussion about supporting pregnant women. This bill is deadly and dangerous. Take back your account Senator! Support life!”
If passed, the bill would:
- Eliminate all state and federal parental consent laws in relation to abortion
- Eliminate all state informed consent laws, including those that allow women to view an ultrasound prior to abortion
- Prevent states from passing laws to protect babies at 20 weeks, thereby joining countries like North Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada, and the Netherlands in not protecting unborn children later in development
- Force doctors and nurses opposed to abortion to lose their jobs, and Catholic hospitals could lose public funds unless they perform abortions
- Eliminate decades-long limitations on direct taxpayer funding of abortion – including the popular Hyde Amendment, which has saved more than 2 million lives since enacted
In short, the legislation would overturn all federal and state pro-life laws and make it illegal for elected officials to even introduce pro-life legislation.
Even among many Democrat voters, the bill is too extreme. Polls consistently show that a strong majority of Americans oppose late-term abortions and taxpayer-funded abortions. A 2022 Marist poll found that just 36 percent of Americans believe abortions should be legal without any restrictions. Additionally, 73 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions.
Similarly, a 2021 Associated Press poll found that 65 percent believe second-trimester abortions should be illegal and 80 percent believe they should be illegal in the third trimester.