On Friday, September 24, I watched the U.S. House of Representatives debate—and pass—the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). Put forward by pro-abortion Democrats in the House as a means of enshrining Roe v. Wade in federal law, the legislation should be renamed the Abortion-Without-Limits-Until-Birth Act because it would nullify all protective pro-life laws on both the state and federal levels.
WHPA’s scope goes beyond Roe v. Wade, which is, sadly, what even “moderate” Democratic politicians now support. The Act would overturn even the most bipartisan, protective state legislation: parental notification and consent laws; laws that ensure that a woman has the right to view an ultrasound before an abortion, as well as those that ensure a woman has information about abortion alternatives and fetal development before she makes such a life-changing decision.
And the bill goes even further. It would also void state laws protecting viable babies who can live outside the mother’s womb by allowing a single abortionist to certify that a woman “needs” an abortion for “health” reasons—even if she is only moments away from giving birth. In a report after the bill was reintroduced in June, National Review’s John McCormack noted that the WHPA “explicitly instructs the courts to ‘liberally’ interpret the legislation, and . . . ‘doesn’t distinguish’ between physical and mental health.”
In a press release, abortion lobby NARAL argued that the Texas SB 8 legislation—which is designed to protect unborn children whose hearts have begun to beat—is part of a “broader onslaught of attacks” and that passing the WHPA was necessary to protect abortion on demand.
In the House debate on Friday, pro-abortion Democrats pushed the narrative that the WHPA “protects” women and allows them to make “decisions” about their “own” lives. The mental gymnastics members had to go through to come to this disingenuous conclusion are astonishing. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Cal.), for example, compared the Texas law to actions taken by the Nazis, calling it “reminiscent of the Third Reich.”
It was truly staggering to see members of the House of Representatives, such as Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), protest that protective laws like SB 8 are “unacceptable, unthinkable, untenable, unconscionable, and un-American.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued that “we will have today a vote for women, a vote for respect for women, a vote for decency, a vote for pride in our Constitution and in our women.”
The irony here cannot be overstated. WHPA protects abortionists and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. It does nothing to protect women. Rather, it would make abortion the one procedure that must always be accommodated—it could never be proscribed in any way.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow SB 8 to stand while lower courts look at the unique legal questions the law raises, President Biden released a statement announcing, “I am directing that [the Gender Policy] Council and the Office of the White House Counsel to launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision.”
In no other area, from Kabul to crime prevention to the border crisis, has President Biden called for a “whole-of-government” response. Only on abortion do we see this kind of zealous intervention from Democrats.
The sharpening of pro-abortion rhetoric—such as that pro-lifers and the laws they support are “extreme,” “racist,” “reminiscent of the Third Reich”—points to just how out of touch these members are with the majority of the American people.
But it’s not just rhetoric. The passage of the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act points to just how far pro-abortion Democrats will go to appease the abortion lobby.
The final vote for passage was along party lines, 218-211, with one lone Democrat, Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Tx.), voting with Republicans against the bill.
The bill may have passed the House with ease, but it will not be light work in the Senate where it faces an uphill battle. Democrats don’t have the 60 votes they need to stop debate on the bill, and they probably don’t have the simple majority of votes needed for passage either.
But it is only by a slim margin in the Senate that one of the most sweeping pro-abortion bills ever considered by Congress will (most likely) be blocked—and this should concern every pro-life American.