The ruling of the Supreme Court against Roe v Wade last month had left lawmakers on Capitol Hill scrambling to protect the accessibility of abortions across the nation. With each state now in direct control of whether to grant abortion access, Democratic leaders are worried women across the country, specifically in traditionally conservative states, will be barred from having the operation. Abortion, a significant component of Democratic candidates' campaigns and promises, has now been weaponized as an opportunity to increase their position in Congress.
As such, the Democrat-led House of Representatives has drafted and passed two bills to ensure accessibility of abortion and protect the ability to cross state -lines for those women seeking an abortion.
The first bill, in summary, provided by Congress, "prohibits governmental restrictions on the provision of, and access to, abortion services." More specifically, the bill orders that the government may not limit a provider's ability to prescribe certain drugs or offer abortion services via telemedicine. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had this to say at the end of the roll call, "by passing the legislation, will we pre-empt and prevent state-level bans and restrictions put forth by extremist, anti-woman state legislators." This bill passed with a narrow vote with all but one democratic voting in favor and all Republicans voting against, 219-210.
The second bill specifically protects citizens seeking abortion access across state lines, where they may be turned away due to state legislation. The bill prohibits any person acting under state law from preventing, restricting...All Democratic representatives voted in favor of the bills passing, while all but three Republicans- Fitzpatrick PA, Kinzinger IL, Upton MI- voted against it.
Although the passing of these bills shows the urgency of Democratic lawmakers to combat the decision made by the Supreme Court, citizens had questioned why democrats did not share the same urgency when both chambers of Congress were controlled a little more than a decade ago? Since the Supreme Courts' original ruling, several opportunities to codify abortion into federal law could have been presented.
Furthermore, the reversing of Roe v Wade has put Republican lawmakers in a difficult position as criticism continues to amount against them. Although the decision was a significant victory for many republican leaders and constituents, Democratic leaders and candidates will heavily use the decision against them in the coming midterm elections. Speaker Pelosi on Friday urged voters to use the ruling as fuel when deciding in the upcoming election. More progressive Democratic representatives have also urged for more protests and campaigns for abortion up until November.
While the passing of both bills presents action taken within Congress, the bills are sure to face rejection when introduced in the Senate. With an almost perfectly split senate, Democratic leaders would need ten republicans to cross the aisle and pass the bills. This, of course, is almost certainly untenable, even with two republican senators partly agreeing with the democrats.
Roe v Wade continues to polarize the United States in unprecedented ways. To see whether abortion will be protected will be reliant on the victors of the November elections.