On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi proclaimed that she will introduce a bill designed to enshrine major protections for various abortion procedures into federal law after Congress returns to session later in August. In essence, Pelosi aims to codify the decision reached by the Supreme Court in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Pelosi’s announcement comes on the heels of the recent passage of a highly restrictive abortion law in the state of Texas, after the Supreme Court declined to block the law from going into effect.
According to Pelosi, the Supreme Court engaged in a “cowardly, dark-of-night decision decision” that resulted in upholding “a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health.”
Remarking that the decision was “staggering” to contemplate, Pelosi claimed that a “radically partisan Court” ultimately made the decision without any “oral arguments,” “full briefing,” or the provision of “a full, signed opinion.” Pelosi blasted the Court’s process as “shameful.”
As a result, Pelosi is now floating the Women’s Health Protection Act, which places strong restrictions on states from attempting to implement a broad array of restrictions or requirements that would infringe on individual reproductive rights, at least rights per abortion activists.
The targeted requirements include visiting an office in-person or receiving an ultrasound prior to an abortion taking place, as well as the restriction of abortion services via telemedicine or at any point prior to the viability of the fetus.
In addition, the legislation also details various factors that courts can consider when determining whether or not a particular limitation or requirement blocks access to abortion services.
According to Pelosi, the proposed bill will “enshrine into law reproductive healthcare for all women across America.”
Judy Chu, a Democrat Rep. from California, serves as the bill’s lead sponsor, and it presently has 191 other co-sponsors. In addition, the Senate companion legislation is currently led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat Rep. from Connecticut, and this legislation also has 46 additional co-sponsors.
The Texas legislation that recently went into effect outlaws abortions if medical workers are able to detect a fetal heartbeat, though the law also provides some exemptions for serious medical emergencies. In addition, the Texas law also permits individuals to file civil lawsuits against anyone who is guilty of providing abortions, or who “aids and abets” an abortion procedure once a heartbeat is detected.
Pelosi blasted the new Texas law as “the most extreme, dangerous abortion ban in half a century.”
She asserted that the purpose of the bill “is to destroy Roe v. Wade,” adding that the bill “even refuses to make exceptions for cases of rape and incest.”
Consequently, Pelosi’s proposed bill “necessitates codifying Roe v. Wade.”
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court denied an emergency request to block the Texas law from going into effect with a 5-4 vote. However, the Court also suggested that it may return to contemplating the constitutionality of the Texas bill, adding that their current order “is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law,” and that it also “in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law.”
Pelosi’s suggested bill is highly likely to pass the House, where Democrats currently hold a small majority. However, this bill must also receive support from at least ten GOP Senators in order to surpass the filibuster in the upper chamber and ultimately head to the desk of Biden.
Pelosi loudly sided with Justice Sotomayor in her public commentary, voicing support behind Sotomayor’s remarks on the Court’s “constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law.”
Earlier in the year, Pelosi declined to directly state whether or not a 15-week-old is a human being or not; instead, she remarked that she is a mother who is also a strong advocate of Roe v. Wade.
The House is set to resume normal operations on September 20.