House to Vote on Abortion Rights as Roe Is Challenged – NBC4 Washingto…

The House is set to vote on legislation aimed at guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion, a bill that reflects the Democratic Party’s response to a restrictive new Texas law that has placed access under threat.

The expected House passage of the bill Friday is likely to be mostly symbolic, as Republican opposition will doom it in the Senate. But Democrats say they will do all they can to codify the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision after the Supreme Court recently allowed a Texas law that would ban most abortions in the state to take effect. The court will hear arguments in December in a separate Mississippi bid to overturn the landmark decision.

Codifying the Roe ruling would average creating a right to abortion in federal law, a monumental change that would make it harder for courts and states to impose restrictions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that congressional action would make a “tremendous difference” in Democrats’ efforts to continue access to abortion rights.

“We want women everywhere — in Texas and everywhere — to have the respect they deserve for their decisions about their own reproductive health,” Pelosi said after the Texas decision.

The vote is bound to fall mostly along party lines. Nearly every House Republican, including the few who favor abortion rights, is expected to vote against the legislation, which would supersede state laws on the subject and give health care providers the right to perform abortions and patients the right to receive them. Republicans argue that the legislation would prevent states from setting requirements like parental involvement and could weaken laws that allow doctors to refuse to perform an abortion.

Democrats have spoken boldly about fighting the Supreme Court — which has a more conservative tilt after Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed last year — but struggled privately to find an effective strategy. They control Congress by the slimmest of margins, including the uniformly divided 50-50 Senate, making the prospects of a successful legislative response difficult.

The party has divided, in some situations, over how far Washington must go to preserve access to abortions. Liberal lawmakers backed by advocates of reproductive rights who helped strength President Joe Biden to office want to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court to rebalance strength, changing the rules if needed to lower the 60-vote threshold typically required in the Senate to improvement legislation.

“Democrats can either abolish the filibuster and expand the court, or do nothing as millions of peoples’ bodies, rights, and lives are sacrificed for far-right minority rule,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. “This shouldn’t be a difficult decision.”

But other Democrats — Biden among them — have been cautious of such a move.

Senators love to argue the validity of the filibuster and whether laws should be passed with a super-majority of 60 votes or a simple majority of 51 votes. But both parties have benefitted at one time from the filibuster, and both parties have revised the rules when they’ve held the majority votes. So what exactly is the filibuster and why does it matter?

Biden supports the House bill and called the court’s ruling on Texas an “unheard of assault on a woman’s constitutional rights.” He has directed multiple agencies to conduct a government-wide effort to ensure women have abortion access and to protect health care providers. But he has not endorsed the idea of adding justices to the Supreme Court, instead forming a commission to study it.

The court’s decisions on abortion could prompt political tensions among Republicans, in addition.

Former President Donald Trump was able to obtain three new conservative Supreme Court justices because Republican leadership in Congress led by GOP leader Mitch McConnell paved the way. Now, as the court upheld the strict new Texas aw outlawing most abortions in the state, the political fallout will test the limits of that strategy.

Women and advocates of abortion rights are quickly mobilizing to take on not just those Republicans, but also the big businesses that backed them, aiming squarely at those that contributed to many of the Texas Republicans behind the abortion law.

Though many Californians jetted to Texas for a lower cost of living and tech jobs around Austin, some of them are now reconsidering their choice, says Washington Post Tech at Work writer Danielle Abril. The law bans abortions after 6 weeks, before many women already know they’re pregnant.

“They will be met with a fierce response from women and people across the country,” said Sonja Spoo, director of Reproductive Rights Campaigns at UltraViolet, an advocacy organization, in an interview Thursday.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who supports abortion rights, says the Texas law is “unhealthy and extreme” and she supports codifying Roe.

But she says the House bill goes “way beyond” that, for example by threatening doctors who refuse to perform abortions on religious or moral grounds.

“I sustain codifying Roe, and I am working with some of my colleagues in the Senate on legislation that would do so,” Collins said in a statement.

Following Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling declining to block a restrictive abortion law in Texas, press secretary Jen Psaki said that the White House is taking steps to “protect a woman’s right to choose.”

Click: See details

Leave a Reply