by Sharon Rondeau

(May 11, 2022) — A measure aimed at codifying the “right” for a woman to have an abortion was defeated Wednesday in the U.S. Senate.

The bill, S. 4132, the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on May 3 and required 60 votes to pass “cloture,” which would have invoked a “Motion to Proceed.”

The matter was scheduled for a vote by Democratic Majority Leader Charles Schumer (NY) in response to the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion indicating that a five-member majority of the High Court intended at the time of its drafting in February to declare that the 1973 landmark case, Roe v. Wade, was decided in error.

All Senate Republicans voted against the proposal along with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, while all other Senate Democrats voted in favor. The roll call indicating how each member voted, both alphabetically and as to “nays” and “yeas,” is posted on the Senate website.

The complete text of the bill as it stood on Wednesday reads:

This bill prohibits governmental restrictions on the provision of, and access to, abortion services.

Specifically, governments may not limit a provider’s ability to

  • prescribe certain drugs,
  • offer abortion services via telemedicine, or
  • immediately provide abortion services when the provider determines a delay risks the patient’s health.

Furthermore, governments may not require a provider to

  • perform unnecessary medical procedures,
  • provide medically inaccurate information,
  • comply with credentialing or other conditions that do not apply to providers whose services are medically comparable to abortions, or
  • carry out all services connected to an abortion.

In addition, governments may not (1) require patients to make medically unnecessary in-person visits before receiving abortion services or disclose their reasons for obtaining such services, or (2) prohibit abortion services before fetal viability or after fetal viability when a provider determines the pregnancy risks the patient’s life or health.

The bill also prohibits other governmental measures that are similar to the bill’s specified restrictions or that otherwise single out and impede access to abortion services, unless a government demonstrates that the measure significantly advances the safety of abortion services or health of patients and cannot be achieved through less restrictive means.

The Department of Justice, individuals, or providers may bring a lawsuit to enforce this bill, and states are not immune from suits for violations.

The bill applies to restrictions imposed both prior and subsequent to the bill’s enactment.

The WHPA narrowly passed the U.S. House last September after Texas passed what many Democrats believe was an excessively restrictive law banning abortion once the fetus has reached the age of six weeks.

The Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the Texas law.

The mainstream largely characterized the leaked draft opinion as a revocation of women‘s “rights.”

During confirmation hearings in late March for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, Jackson appeared unable, or perhaps unwilling, to define the meaning of “woman.”

Brown will take her seat on the court over the summer after sitting Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, for whom Brown once clerked, begins his retirement after 28 years on the court.

In 1973, the Supreme Court decided Roe in response to a Texas law prohibiting abortion unless the life of the mother was threatened.

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  1. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell should introduce “The 2nd Amendment Protection Act”, an act banning any government infringement on every American citizen’s Constitutional right to keep and bear Arms.