Nationwide Abortion Narrowly Misses in Senate

The Senate held a second vote on Wednesday on the “Women’s Health Protection Act” (WHPA) that failed because it did not receive any Republican support and was opposed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). The legislation is designed to impose a nationwide legal right to unlimited abortion through the full term of pregnancy. The bill also goes much farther than Roe v. Wade by overriding virtually all state laws regulating or affecting abortion.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other Democrats admitted that the second failed attempt to pass the bill in only ten weeks came in order to provide a campaign issue for their base to rally around in this year’s midterm elections. Even though the vote provides the impression of Democrat support for Roe, the WHPA is far more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision that declared a limited constitutional right to abortion.

The WHPA goes far beyond the DNC talking point of “codifying Roe.” It creates an absolute right to abortion until viablity. After that point, all that it requires is a certification from a single “healthcare provider” all the way until live birth for the absolute right to be recognized.

That certification only requires that physician or non-physician “provider” find that continuing a pregnancy presents risk to a patient’s life of “health.” The bill does not distinguish between physical and mental health. The bill provides that health factors include “emotional, psychological, and familial” considerations.

The bill is designed to override all state and federal laws that conflict with it, including religious conscience laws protecting medical workers and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The WHPA invalidates state laws requiring waiting periods before abortions, laws requiring clinics to provide adoption information to patients, laws requiring parental consent or notification, and even state laws prohibiting partial-birth abortions.

Republicans should take full advantage of the DNC’s decision to make the WHPA its rallying point in light of the anticipated reversal of Roe by the Supreme Court this summer.

Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) remain publicly opposed to ending the Senate filibuster rule requiring at least 60 votes to advance legislation like the WHPA. The GOP should make it very clear to voters that if Democrats retain the House and pick up the two Senate seats they would need to overturn the legislative filibuster rule, the monstrous WHPA would be almost certainly imposed on every American in every state.