House Passes Abortion Rights Legislation But-- Faces Uphill Battle In Senate

The Democratic-controlled House voted 218-211 to pass the Womens Health Protection Act (WHPA) on Friday, to ensure that a person could decide whether to end pregnancy, but the bill faces a tough battle in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Texas lawmakers continue to struggle to pass a bill to limit abortion providers and raise medical standards at clinics to allow for more ambulatory surgery centers. Pro-choice activists continue to gather at the Capitol Tuesday. (Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography, Inc/Corbis via Getty Images. Corbis via Getty Images

The Key Facts

Women's Health Protection Act gives women the right to abort without regard to the viability of the foetus. It also allows health care providers to offer abortions free from state restrictions. Democrats are aiming at codifying Roe v. Wage and abortion rights advocates want to use the act as a safeguard against state-imposed restrictions on abortion. Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, brought the bill to the floor as a response to the Texas anti-abortion law. It prohibits abortion after six weeks and allows for incest.

Important Background

As the Senate is unlikely to pass the bill, the House vote can be seen as symbolic. Although the Texas law was not blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court, it did leave the door open for abortion providers to challenge the law. People with limited resources and people who are of color are more likely to be able to travel to states that permit abortion. Abortion bans have the greatest impact.

What to Wathc for

The bill would need 60 votes to advance in the Republican-controlled Senate. Already, it was seen as unlikely that the bill would garner votes from all Democrats and 10 Republicans to reach the 60-vote threshold.

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Senator Susan Collins claims she won't back the Abortion Rights Act, which would likely endanger its chances of passing (Forbes).

House Democrats will hold hearings on state abortion laws as Congress considers how to fight Texas ban (Forbes).

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House passes bill protecting abortion access, which faces resistance in the Senate (Forbes).