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The Women’s Health Protection Act, which received support from 49 Democrats in the Senate and ultimately failed to succeed, would have given health care providers the “right” to provide abortion services with few limitations or requirements.
According to the measure’s text, health care providers would have been allowed to perform abortions without “a prohibition on abortion at any point or points in time prior to fetal viability” or “a requirement that a patient seeking abortion services at any point or points in time prior to fetal viability disclose the patient’s reason or reasons for seeking abortion services.”
The legislation would have also given way for the providers to perform the procedure without a “prohibition on abortion after fetal viability 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.” Additionally, the bill states “in interpreting the provisions of this Act, a court shall liberally construe such provisions to effectuate the purposes of the Act.”
When Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced the measure earlier this month, he assured reporters during a press conference that the patient’s “health” includes psychological and emotional health, similar to that offered in Doe v. Bolton, a companion case to Roe v. Wade.
Pro-choice Republican Sens. Susan Collins, of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, concluded the measure undermines the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by removing protections for religious liberties. This override would be unprecedented, according to Collins’ office, given that “Congress has never before adopted legislation that contains an exemption to this religious liberty law.”
“Contrary to claims from Senate Democratic leaders that their bill would not infringe upon the religious rights of individuals and religious institutions, the WHPA explicitly invalidates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in connection with abortion and supersedes other longstanding, bipartisan conscience laws, including provisions in the Affordable Care Act, that protect health care providers who choose not to offer abortion services for moral or religious reasons,” Collins said in a statement.
Collins’ office also noted that the bill’s “overly broad language far exceeds Roe by striking down state laws such as those that require certain materials to be given to the patient, prohibit sex-based abortions, or require parental or guardian notification for minors seeking an abortion.”
A recent poll from the Pew Research Center revealed that only 19% of Americans believe abortion in the third trimester should be legal in all cases. Additionally, a 2019 Marist Poll found that 75% of Americans strongly support some restrictions on abortion.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Democrats for Life spokesperson Jess Meeth offered appreciation for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the only Democratic senator to vote against the measure, and concluded that it is “radical legislation that goes beyond Roe.”
“We are disappointed in Sen. Bob Casey and his claims to be a pro-life Democrat but turning his back on women and their pre-born children by supporting WHPA,” Meeth added, taking aim at the Pennsylvania Democrat who ran his 2006 campaign for Senate on being “pro life, pro gun.”
“It is deeply out of step to not give women real resources and real support both during and after their pregnancies,” Meeth said. “There are 21 million pro-life Democrats who do not agree with the Party’s platform and position on abortion. As Democrats, we must protect all human life and dignity, and this includes the most vulnerable in the womb.”
Meeth also touted a “movement of pro-life Democrats rising who recognize the need of regulation and limits around abortion” and applauded efforts from Connecticut state Rep. Treneé McGee, a Black woman and a pro-life Democrat who “inspired 13 fellow Democrats, including those of minority groups, in the state’s House and Senate to oppose” a measure in the state that expanded access to abortion.
Despite what some Republican senators and pro-life Democrats had to say about the measure, Nora Keefe, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), told Fox News Digital that Republicans are “panicking” as a result of their agenda and issuing “false claims” about the measure.
“Republicans are panicking because they know their agenda to take away a woman’s right to make their own decisions is deeply out of step with Americans of every political persuasion,” Keefe said. “Their false claims about the Women Health’s Protection Act will not distract voters from their plan to criminalize abortion everywhere and inflict new, punishing restrictions on women and families.”
When comparing U.S. laws to the rest of the world, the Washington Post found that “many European countries limit on-request abortions to the first trimester, more restrictive than much of the United States. And the United States is one of fewer than a dozen countries that allow abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy on any grounds.”
Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, a pro-life activist, also took aim at the bill, telling Fox News Digital that those who voted for the measure are “delusional.”
“The DSCC and senators who voted to allow abortion for any reason at any point in pregnancy are delusional,” Johnson said. “Americans do not support radical abortion on demand, especially after the first trimester. Any abortion is horrific, but abortions done in the second and third trimesters are downright cruel and brutal as the baby is ripped apart limb-by-limb or sometimes born alive and left to die if drugs to stop the baby’s heart do not work.”
“Most Americans have never worked in an abortion clinic,” she continued. “They have not seen this kind of destruction of human life up close. It’s a burden for all of us who have. It’s not only the images of the discarded babies that are forever ingrained in our minds, but the faces of women who we saw crumble when brought into the recovery room facing the realization of what just happened.”
Johnson said the “biggest lie” women have been told is that “they need abortion to achieve their dreams or have the career they want or to obtain higher education.”
“They don’t need to end the life of their unborn baby to do any of this – there are so many people and organizations to help them,” Johnson added. “They need support, not the abortion industry telling them lies in order to increase their bottom line because, really, that’s what it’s all about for abortion clinics. The dignity of women and their babies is not even on their radar. Women deserve better than abortion. They deserve better than the disingenuously named Women’s Protection Act, which only gives license to the abortion industry to further unleash the horror of abortion in our nation.”