The House of Representatives approved this Friday a bill to protect abortion at the national level, seeking to curb restrictive measures in states like Texas and Florida, but which is unlikely to go forward in the Senate.
By 218 votes in favor and 211 against, the Lower House gave the green light to the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), a legislative text promoted by the Democratic majority in the chamber that would allow women to discard unborn babies.
The bill, which will only become law if it overcomes significant opposition in the Senate, aims to shield abortion from the prospect that the Supreme Court may overturn next year the court decision that legalized the termination of pregnancy in the country in 1973.
It also seeks to invalidate the law that went into effect this month in Texas with the Supreme Court’s approval, which bans abortion as early as six weeks gestation.
Under the bill, no state could pass any “prohibition on abortion at any point prior to the viability of the fetus” outside the womb, around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Thereafter, the WHPA would prohibit restricting access to abortion only in cases where a physician warns that “continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health,” the bill’s text states.
The bill is unlikely to move forward in the Senate, where Democrats hold a razor-thin majority of barely half the seats in the chamber and where at least two members of that party, Bob Casey and Joe Manchin, have already said they do not support the legislation.