The House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday (September 24) that overrides state pro-life laws and removes limits on abortion until the time of birth in some cases.
The House passed a Women's Health Protection Bill (H.R. 3755), introduced by Representative Judy Chu, Democrat-elect of California, by 218 votes to 211.
The bill recognizes a “statutory right” to abortion, blocking state regulations and removing restrictions on pre-viability abortions.
It also blocks the limits on late abortions in cases where the “life or health” of the mother is determined to be at risk - allowing abortions up to birth without “significant” limits, the American Bishops (USCCB) conference warned.
On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of House of Representatives - who calls herself “Catholic” - explained her “disagreement” with her bishop, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, on legal abortion.
She said God has given people “free will” to choose abortion, and that it is not “the business” of lawmakers to make that decision for them.
Mrs. Pelosi announced earlier in September that the House would pass the Women's Health Protection Act, following the entry into force of the Texas pro-life “heartbeat” law. On Friday in the House, she invoked her faith to defend this law.
“I'm coming to this as a Catholic, a mother of five [children] in six years and a week,” she said. “But with my husband and I, it was our decision. The House,” she said, “shouldn't be making decisions for women in America.”
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco called on members of Congress to use their “free will” and “vote no to legalizing the killing of babies.”
Bishop Joseph Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas and chairman of the USCCB Pro-Life Commission, warned that the bill would also make public funding for abortion mandatory and could force medical professionals to practice or help perform abortions against their conscience.
The legislation “is really about abortion until birth,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in a call to reporters on Friday.
“If Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and their allies succeed, the United States will soon no longer be distinguished from North Korea and China on the human rights issue of abortion,” declared Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life.
“For the first time in the history of Congress, this legislation would legally allow the violent death of unborn babies by dismemberment, beheading, forcible expulsion from the womb, and deadly poisons, for any reason until birth,” said Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.
“This bill will remove all the modest pro-life restrictions ever adopted by states,” he added.
However, Ms. Dannenfelser noted that it is “rather unlikely” that the bill “will even be passed in the Senate.”