U.S. House Tries to Codify Roe v. Wade Again, Bill Heads to the Senate

By and Rebecca Oas, Ph.D. | July 15, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 15 (C-Fam) The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) today, legislation that cites the non-binding opinions of UN human rights treaty monitoring bodies that abortion be “accessible” and “affordable” and condemning restrictions and barriers to abortion.

The bill goes even further than the recently-overturned Supreme Court rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey by blocking the state-level restrictions to protect the unborn that existed even before those decisions were overturned.

The bill cited numerous UN human rights experts, none of whom have the power to create an international obligation on any member nation, including one group that insisted that “abortion care constitutes essential health care” and criticized limits on abortion and other procedures during the early COVID-19 pandemic.

Floor debate was permitted for one hour prior to the vote. Republican lawmakers appealed to their colleagues to reject aligning the U.S. on extreme abortion policy alongside China and North Korea.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) urged her colleagues to protect the life of the unborn stating abortion was the human rights issue of this generation. “Abortion for nine months is not the will of the American people,” she said.

“We need to stop this lie that abortion is healthcare, it is not,” said Congresswoman Kat Cammack (R-FL). The Florida Congresswoman said the “Abortion-on-Demand Until Birth Act” was “regressive, horrific, sexist and racist” for its provisions which would allow the killing of an unborn child based on its sex, race or potential disability.

Iowa Congresswoman Marionette Miller-Meeks, a medical doctor, described how infants in the womb are dismembered in late term abortions and the pain they feel during the procedure. We wouldn’t allow this treatment for our animals, she said.

The Women’s Health Protections Act of 2022 passed largely along party lines (219-210).

The WHPA has been introduced in each session of Congress since 2013, although the language on international human rights law was first introduced in the 2021 version of the bill. The bill has stalled in the Senate.

The current iteration of its Senate companion bill is also unlikely to succeed, as long as the filibuster remains in place, which requires sixty votes to move a bill forward for consideration.   Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-NH) who support abortion rights previously voted against the bill saying it goes too far.

President Joe Biden has stated that Congress must legislatively codify Roe even for “requiring an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.” Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) oppose removing the filibuster though Manchin said he supports Roe being codified.

Since the leak of the Supreme Court’s decision and its eventual publication, the President has been increasingly vocal in support of abortion, including dropping many of the euphemisms commonly used for abortion. In a recent executive order, Biden explicitly stated that “The term ‘reproductive healthcare services’ means medical, surgical, counseling, or referral services relating to the human reproductive system, including services relating to pregnancy or the termination of a pregnancy.”