WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives renewed their push this week for a federal law broadly tying the hands of pro-life states, highlighting the stakes for abortion friends and foes going into this year’s elections.
H.R. 2975, the so-called Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA) of 2019, establishes a federal statutory right to perform and obtain abortions, including after fetal viability (under the broad cover of “health”), and specifically forbids states from subjecting abortion to ultrasound requirements, mandatory waiting periods, informed-consent requirements, and other health and safety regulations, such as admitting privileges.
It also protects so-called “webcam” abortions (i.e., dispensing abortion pills without an in-person doctor’s visit), forbids banning abortions on the basis of a “patient’s reasons” such as the race, sex, or disability of the baby, and forbids banning particular techniques such as dilation and evacuation (D&E) or “dismemberment” abortions.
Democrats reintroduced the WHPA last year, with Reps. Judy Chu, D-California, Lois Frankel, D-Florida, and Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, taking the lead in the House of Representatives, and Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, in the Senate.
On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House Energy & Commerce committee held a hearing on the bill, featuring the pro-abortion testimony of Center for Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup, Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives medical director Yashica Robinson, and Holly Alvarado, an Air Force veteran who had an abortion.
Representing the pro-life side were University of St. Thomas law professor Teresa Stanton Collett and Silent No More co-founder Georgette Forney, who shared her experience with abortion regret.
The WHPA “does more than simply ‘codify Roe,’ by responding in a very specific way to the state-level restrictions that are effectively eliminating access to care today,” Northup testified, claiming it is a necessary to a wave of “unnecessary” laws and regulations that burden so-called women’s healthcare. “In that way, the Women’s Health Protection Act can help ensure that the right to abortion first recognized in Roe is a reality.
“It is my opinion that the deceptively named ‘Women’s Health Protection Act of 2019,’ if enacted, would affirmatively harm women, children, and families throughout the country,” Collett testified. She argued that (contrary to pro-abortion conventional wisdom) “there is no evidence” women need abortion to thrive economically, and that the WHPA “would eliminate hundreds of laws that protect women and girls from malpractice by abortion providers and misconduct by others.”
Little new ground was broken during witness cross-examination, with both Republicans and Democrats largely running through standard arguments for and against abortion.
In response to a reference to Ellie Schneider – the little girl President Donald Trump invited to his latest State of the Union address, who had been born at just under 22 weeks – Robinson questioned the legitimacy of her story, saying she had never seen a child survive that young. In fact, the Schneider family’s story was extensively covered in 2018, with neonatologist Dr. Barbara Carr of St. Luke’s Hospital in Missouri confirming that Ellie was born that early and did indeed beat incredible odds.
Collett spent much of her time setting the record straight on numerous aspects of abortion policy, such as the fact that abortionists themselves commonly use ultrasounds; they simply don’t offer patients the opportunity to view the resulting image. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-California, took great umbrage at Collett dismissing the authority of medical groups aligned with the abortion industry; Collett responded by simply noting that the biases of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) is well documented.
WHPA will not become law this year, as Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate would reject it. It does, however, serve as a preview of what could pass if Democrats oust Trump and retake the Senate. Most of the Democrats currently running for the party’s presidential run have endorsed codifying Roe in federal statutes.