In the midst of a nationwide debate in state legislatures regarding abortion rights, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, which is designed to protect the right to abortion. Passed along party lines with a vote of 218-211, the legislation was opposed by all Republicans and one Democrat, Texas Representative Henry Cuellar.
Designed under the provisions of Roe v. Wade, the legislation would essentially codify the rights granted through the case into law. This would mean that Americans would have the statutory right to perform or receive an abortion “prior to fetal viability” without restrictions imposed by states.
Initially introduced in 2013 by Judy Chu (D-CA), the bill was reintroduced in June 2021 by Chu and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Both argued that passing the bill meant that Americans could continue to have access to abortions even if Roe. v. Wade fell.
The bill comes in the weeks after the Texas legislature passed the Texas Heartbeat Act, the first abortion ban of its kind in the U.S. Under the law, Texans cannot provide or receive an abortion six weeks after conception; it also allows private citizens to sue anyone involved in the obtaining of an abortion.
Though the legislation moved through the House of Representatives, the bill, co-sponsored by Blumenthal, is not expected to garner enough votes in the Senate to pass, where a minimum of 60 senators would need to vote ‘yay’ to break the filibuster.