Last week, Senator Chuck Schumer filed cloture on H.R. 3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would be more appropriately titled the Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act. The Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to this bill on Monday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m.
Undoes State Laws
The bill codifies abortion on demand until birth for any reason. It would undo all existing state limits on abortion and prevent future federal, state and local limits. This would force every state to be a late-term abortion state. Notably, the bill carves out the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and makes clear that it cannot be used as a claim. Though other bills (like the Equality Act) have attempted to do the same thing, Congress has never exempted RFRA from any statute since RFRA became law in 1993.
The National Catholic Register noted: “The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) would ‘effectively enshrine an unlimited abortion ‘right’ in federal law,’ Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), said Feb. 18.
“Her comments came after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., cleared the way for the upcoming vote, scheduled for Feb. 28. The Biden administration has repeatedly expressed support for the bill, which would override states’ pro-life laws and remove restrictions on abortion up to the point of birth in some cases.
“While the act is not expected to pass, the vote itself is historic.
“Nancy Northup, who heads the Center for Reproductive Rights, recognized the moment Feb. 17 as “the first time the Senate votes on standalone legislation to enshrine the right to abortion in federal law.”
“The WHPA would prohibit abortion restrictions or bans ‘that are more burdensome than those restrictions imposed on medically comparable procedures, do not significantly advance reproductive health or the safety of abortion services, and make abortion services more difficult to access.’
“The act’s text lists a series of specific restrictions it would do away with, on everything from limitations on telemedicine to restrictions around viability, which the act defines as the point when a fetus can survive outside the womb — determined by ‘the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider.’
“The WHPA would forbid any kind of limit on abortion before fetal viability, including ‘a prohibition or restriction on a particular abortion procedure.’ After viability, the WHPA would outlaw limits on abortion ‘when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.’”
This bill passed the House in September 2021 with a vote of 218-211. The Senate Judiciary Committee also had a hearing on the bill in June.