by Steve Ertelt
Senate Democrats will hold a hearing on a bill tomorrow that would wipe out almost every single pro-life law on abortion.
S.1696 is deceptively titled the “Women’s Health Protection Act” even though it revokes protections for women and their unborn children. Instead, the bill would be far reaching in how it would topple pro-life laws passed in virtually every state in the country.
Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of state right-to-life organizations, is one of the only pro-life speakers testifying against the legislation. She tells LifeNews that four months before the mid-term congressional election, Senate Democrats are pushing into the national spotlight “the most radical pro-abortion bill ever considered by Congress.”
Tobias commented, “We believe that many voters will be appalled to learn that nearly two-thirds of Senate Democrats have already cosponsored a bill to impose nationwide the extreme ideological doctrine that elective abortion must not be limited in any meaningful way, at any stage of pregnancy.”
Tobias is one of only two non-congressional witnesses who will testify against the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” (S. 1696), at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow.
“The bill has been heavily promoted by pro-abortion activist groups since its introduction last November, although it has been largely ignored by the mainstream news media. The measure has 35 Senate cosponsors, all Democrats, including nine of the 10 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. The chief sponsor of the bill, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.), has been designated to chair the hearing,” NRLC tells LifeNews.
The bill is an updated and expanded version of the old “Freedom of Choice Act” that was championed by Barack Obama when he was a senator. The new bill would invalidate nearly all existing state limitations on abortion, and prohibit states from adopting new limitations in the future, including various types of laws specifically upheld as constitutionally permissible by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Among the laws that the bill would nullify are requirements to provide women seeking abortion with specific information on their unborn child and on alternatives to abortion, laws providing reflection periods (waiting periods), laws allowing medical professionals to opt out of providing abortions, laws limiting the performance of abortions to licensed physicians, bans on elective abortion after 20 weeks, meaningful limits on abortion after viability, and bans on the use of abortion as a method of sex selection. These laws generally have broad public support in the states in which they are enacted, including support from substantial majorities of women.
The bill would also invalidate most previously enacted federal limits on abortion, including federal conscience protection laws and most, if not all, limits on government funding of abortion.
In her testimony, Tobias will call on Senate Democrats to also allow consideration of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 1670), sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which has an even greater number of Senate cosponsors (41), and which duplicates legislation that has already passed the House of Representatives (H.R. 1797). The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would generally protect unborn children in the sixth month and later, by which point they are capable of experiencing great pain during abortions.
Other leading pro-life groups are also strenuously opposed to the legislation.
“Now, imagine the laws in 32 states requiring varying degrees of informed consent prior to an abortion invalidated overnight. Twenty laws prohibiting partial-birth abortion – gone,” says Bill Saunders of Americans United for Life. “Twenty-nine state laws requiring abortion clinics to meet some degree of safety standards—gone. Other abortion bans, admitting privileges requirements, regulations on abortion-inducing drugs, ultrasound requirements, and limitations on the use of public funds and facilities for abortions and abortion training–all gone.”
“Imagine the vast majority of pro-life laws wiped out with the enactment of a single piece of federal legislation. That is the purpose behind S. 1696,” Saunders adds.
ACTION: Contact your senators and urge STRONG opposition to the bill.