White House 'strongly supports' bill that would block state-level abortion restrictions
T he Biden administration said on Monday that it “strongly supports” a bill the House will consider this week that would block many state-level abortion restrictions.
A statement of administration policy from the Office of Management and Budget said the White House “strongly supports House passage of H.R. 3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021.”
The Women’s Health Protection Act would give medical providers the right to perform abortions and would override certain state-level restrictions, such as bans on abortion via telemedicine or requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The bill is poised to pass in the House but unlikely to pass the Senate.
Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, told the Washington Examiner that “Joe Biden’s descent into abortion extremism has reached a new low with his support of this legislation."
"This bill goes far beyond codifying Roe v. Wade . It seeks to overturn the hundreds of state laws across the nation that protect women and the unborn — and would effectively outlaw new pro-life laws without federal permission,” McClusky said.
Abortion rights activists and lawmakers called for the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act in response to a Texas law prohibiting abortion after six weeks unless a woman’s life is in danger.
The Texas law, Senate Bill 8 , has another controversial provision permitting any person to bring a civil action against anyone who performs an abortion procedure or “aids or abets” an abortion procedure after six weeks. The Supreme Court declined to block the law from going into effect earlier this month on procedural grounds.
The White House called the Texas law “extreme” and said the law “blatantly violates existing Supreme Court precedent established under Roe v. Wade nearly half a century ago.”
“In the wake of Texas’ unprecedented attack, it has never been more important to codify this constitutional right and to strengthen health care access for all women, regardless of where they live,” the statement said. “The Administration looks forward to working with Congress as the Women’s Health Protection Act advances through the legislative process to ensure that this bill codifies and is consistent with the protections established by Roe and subsequent Supreme Court precedent.”
After the Supreme Court’s decision, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was “looking at a range of options in Congress” but did not specify whether the president supported the Women’s Health Protection Act specifically.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier this month the Women’s Health Protection Act would be brought up for a vote upon Congress’s return, arguing the Texas law “necessitates codifying Roe v. Wade .”
The bill likely lacks the votes to pass the Senate. Forty-eight of the upper chamber’s Democrats signed on as co-sponsors, but two — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania — did not. If both Casey and Manchin oppose the bill in the Senate, then Democrats would need to gain the support of pro-abortion Republicans such as Sens. Susan Collins of Maine or Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
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