The Senate voted to kill the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 Monday, Feb. 28. Don’t let the title idiot you; it was simply one other try by progressive Democrats to codify a proper to abort in federal legislation. With states passing new restrictions and a predominately conservative Supreme Court contemplating authorized challenges which have pro-choice activists trembling, the so-called reproductive proper is a sizzling subject. The invoice could have flopped in the higher chamber, however some argue the loss can be utilized to grab victory from the jaws of defeat come election time in November. Can Democrats scare sufficient voters to interrupt the impending pink wave? Let the spin start.
Setting The Narrative
Some model of this invoice has come earlier than each Congress since 2013, however this most up-to-date effort is particular. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) launched the cleaver little bit of laws on July 6, 2021, and the House handed it 218-211 on September 24. While Democrats champion this as a backstop ought to Roe v. Wade be overturned, in actuality, it does way more.
Under the WHPA, no state might go a legislation that blocks abortion earlier than the level of viability. That means no extra so-called heartbeat payments. Even after the level of viability, abortions could be federally protected as long as the “treating health care provider,” who below this legislation doesn’t essentially should be a health care provider, believes in “good-faith medical judgment” that persevering with the being pregnant might “pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.” Such open-ended language may very well be argued to permit late-term abortions in any being pregnant, as there are at all times dangers.
Furthermore, no legislation might require any medical exams and even an in-person seek the advice of earlier than a pregnant lady may very well be prescribed – over the telephone – treatment to abort. Parental discover and consent for minors additionally wouldn’t be allowed. Even a regulation that has a “reasonable likelihood” of deterring some sufferers not directly could be prohibited, and defending such a legislation would require “clear and convincing evidence” that it “significantly advances the safety of abortion services” in a manner that may’t be achieved by much less restrictive methods.
As if that weren’t radical sufficient, the invoice additionally explicitly states that it applies to any state or federal legislation “whether adopted before or after the date of enactment of this Act.” Taken actually, this may undo even the rules already in place. Furthermore, since the WHPA additionally empowers each the particular person and the Department of Justice to sue any state over such a legislation, an argument may very well be made for fits in opposition to any state that has beforehand handed any restriction that might grow to be prohibited, no matter how constitutional they could have been earlier than.
Spin That Yarn
“The American people deserve to see that while Democrats are fighting to protect their constitutional rights, Republicans are hoping the Supreme Court rolls back Roe and are actively blocking Congress from acting to protect reproductive rights,” declared Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) earlier than the vote. That’s a reasonably story for the left – however it falls just a bit wanting the reality.
With precisely half of the Senate occupied by Democrats or Independents who’re Democrats in all however title, Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote provides her social gathering a technical majority in the higher chamber – which suggests a trifecta of energy over the federal authorities. Dems like to level to party-line votes and proclaim that the GOP is standing firmly in the manner of progress. If solely it weren’t for that dang previous filibuster. But in fact, Democrats might get rid of that procedural hurdle completely in the event that they solely held a real majority. Luckily for the Republic, they don’t. All 50 Republicans and not less than two of the Democrats – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema most frequently, although others sometimes take part – maintain a slim majority in opposition to eliminating the filibuster.
In this vote, nevertheless, not even that much-ballyhooed Senate rule is accountable. In the 46-48 vote, Sen. Manchin sided with the GOP, as was anticipated. Still, even had he stood along with his personal social gathering members, the vote would have failed 47-48. Bob Casey (D-PA) was the solely different Democrat who didn’t co-sign the invoice. While he did vote to open dialogue, there’s no assure he would have endorsed the completed product. Even had all 48 Democrat co-sponsors been current and voted for it, that’s nonetheless two shy of a 50/50 cut up that may very well be weighted their manner by the VP if it weren’t for the filibuster. Even the pro-abortion Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted in opposition to starting debate – they usually adopted up by introducing a invoice of their very own to codify Roe v. Wade, if not in such a broad method as the WHPA. This invoice is just too excessive for reasonable Democrats and pro-abortion Republicans to simply accept – and it seemingly solely acquired a House vote in response to the Texas heartbeat invoice banning abortions after six weeks.
Rally Around Abortion?
The vote represents yet one more legislative loss for the Democrats. However, with the proper spin, it additionally presents a chance for fearmongering to drive liberal voters in any other case disinterested and disheartened by the social gathering’s lackluster efficiency to point out up on election day. “It’s laying the groundwork for a very powerful contrast,” defined Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. “One of the biggest problems we have is convincing voters that any rights they have would ever be taken away, or that we would ever backtrack.” But this, together with the Supreme Court deliberations, can simply be offered as a disaster.
“We’re going to hold accountable every senator who votes against this bill,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) warned earlier. “Make no mistake, reproductive freedoms will be on the ballot this November.” Will Democrats actually marketing campaign on their very own failures? Don’t doubt it for a minute. The actual query is: How many helpful idiots can they idiot?
~ Read extra from James Fite.