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U.S. House Democrats advance abortion rights bill, Senate passage unlikely By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO : Representative Norma Torres (D.CA) addresses a House Rules Committee committee hearing regarding the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. This was on Capitol Hill in Washington. December 17, 2019. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives advanced a bill on Tuesday that would protect the right to abortion and annul some new restrictions passed by Republican-controlled state governments.

If the “Women’s Health Protection Act” passes the Democratic-controlled House, it is unlikely to succeed in the 100-member Senate, where Republicans also are a minority but hold enough votes to prevent it from reaching the 60-vote threshold to pass most legislation.

The bill was sent to the House by Democrats after Texas’s law that virtually bans abortion in Texas went into effect early in this month.

The Supreme Court’s 1972 Roe v. Wade decision established abortion’s right. But abortion-rights activists fear that the Supreme Court, which now has a conservative majority of 6-3, could overturn the landmark decision.

Representative Norma Torres stated that “action is both urgently needed” during a House Rules Committee hearing. This committee voted 9-4 in favor of taking the bill to the full House.

Republicans claimed that the legislation would allow for abortions to be performed in a manner not permitted by Roe v. Wade.

Rep. Tom Cole of the House Rules, a senior Republican on the panel said: “It is the most vicious assault against the unborn since Roe was determined.” The Democrats’ bill, he said, “would preempt any state law seeking to protect unborn life.”

Although most Americans have been supporting abortion for years, this is one of America’s most contentious issues.

An Ipsos/Reuters survey in June found that 52% said abortion should legally be performed in most or all cases. Only 36% believed it should be illegal.

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