House Passes Bill To Allow Abortion on Demand Nationwide

Dems aim to enshrine Roe in response to state-level abortion bans

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) gives a speech as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) looks on / Getty Images
September 24, 2021

The House of Representatives voted nearly along party lines Friday to pass a bill that will allow abortion on demand nationwide, superseding state-level abortion restrictions.

The Women’s Health Protection Act codifies Roe v. Wade into law, making it illegal for states to restrict abortion access. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) brought the bill to the floor after Texas enacted a law banning abortion after six weeks. The House bill allows abortion up to birth if a doctor determines that a "continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health." 

"Abortion services are essential to health care and access to those services is central to people’s ability to participate equally in the economic and social life of the United States," the bill states. 

Republican-led state legislatures passed a record number of pro-life bills this year. The Supreme Court will take up an abortion case in December regarding a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi that will directly challenge Roe v. Wade. Democrats fear decades-long precedent protecting abortion access prior to viability may be in jeopardy following former president Donald Trump's appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D., Texas.) was the lone Democrat to vote against the bill, along with every Republican. The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, where every Democrat and 10 Republicans would need to vote in favor to hit the 60-vote threshold. Democratic senators Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Bob Casey (Pa.) are the only two Democrats not listed among the Senate bill's 47 cosponsors. Manchin voted against federal funding of abortions in August.

Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, said her party appears more focused on appealing to its allies in the abortion industry than protecting women.

"This shows how beholden the Democratic Party is to the abortion lobby," Day told the Washington Free Beacon. "It’s so interesting that we’re the party that wants to set health safety regulations to protect people yet on this one issue we flip-flop—making abortion less safe for women to make the abortion lobby more money."

Pro-choice PACs spent $1.4 million on Democratic candidates in the 2020 election cycle.

A June poll from the Associated Press found that a majority of respondents support legalized abortion in the first trimester and oppose legalized abortion in the second and third trimester. Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said the passage of the bill shows that Democrats are some of the most radical abortion advocates in the world. 

"The bill is beyond extreme—invalidating all state laws limiting the deadly procedure—even popular late-term abortion laws—as well as doing away with health and safety regulations designed to protect women," Mancini said. "If Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and their allies get their way, the United States will soon be indistinguishable from North Korea and China on the human-rights issue of abortion." 

In Europe, 47 of 50 countries restrict abortion prior to 15 weeks. Only seven countries, including China, North Korea, and the United States, allow abortion past 20 weeks.