Highlights

  • US House passes bill to restore abortion rights
  • The legislation was passed 219-210
  • The bill may not clear the Senate hurdle

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US House votes to restore abortion rights, Senate odds dim

The legislation passed 219-210. The House was also voting on a separate bill to prohibit punishment for a woman or child who decides to travel to another state to get an abortion.

The United States' House has voted to restore abortion rights nationwide in Democrats' first legislative response to the Supreme Court's landmark decision banning abortion

The bill has little chance of becoming law, with the necessary support lacking in the 50-50 Senate. Yet voting marks the beginning of a new era in the debate as lawmakers, governors and legislatures grapple with the impact of the court's decision.

The legislation passed 219-210. The House was also voting on a separate bill to prohibit punishment for a woman or child who decides to travel to another state to get an abortion.

“Just three weeks ago the Supreme Court took a wrecking ball to the fundamental rights by overturning Roe v. Wade,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of the votes, gathering with other Democratic women on the steps of the Capitol.

“It is outrageous that 50 years later, women must again fight for our most basic rights against an extremist court.” Republicans spoke forcefully against the bills, praising the Supreme Court's decision and warning the that the legislation would go further than Roe ever did when it comes to legalising abortion.

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Urging her colleagues to vote no, Washington GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers called abortion “the greatest human rights issue of our generation.” She said the Democratic legislation “has nothing to do with protecting the health of women. It has everything to do with forcing an extreme agenda on the American people.” By overturning Roe, the court has allowed states to enact strict abortion limits, including many that had previously been deemed unconstitutional. The ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

Already, a number of GOP-controlled states have moved quickly to curtail or outlaw abortion, while states controlled by Democrats have sought to champion access.

Voters now rank abortion as among the most pressing issues facing the country, a shift in priorities that Democrats hope will reshape the political landscape in their favour for the midterm elections.

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