Democratic lawmakers are set to unleash new legal attacks from Washington on the new pro-life Texas Heartbeat Act. The new law went into effect on September 1 and made most abortion procedures in Texas illegal after a fetal heartbeat was medically discovered. Providers must test for a heartbeat, which usually becomes apparent around the sixth week of pregnancy.
The Supreme Court refused to intervene to prevent the law’s implementation, and the left has been in a typical state of upheaval ever since.
The House opened a new legislative session on Monday, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been indicating that she will be leading a legislative challenge to the new Texas law. Recent reporting has indicated that Pelosi expects a vote on a “reproductive rights” bill sometime in September.
The most likely plan for House Democrats will focus on re-introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021. The same legislation has been unsuccessfully introduced each year since 2013 and is designed to restrict state regulations that reduce the number of abortions performed in America.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has said that the proposed federal law “creates a new legal protection” for medical providers performing abortions. It also notes that the measure will exempt physicians from “medically unnecessary” limits on the number of abortions they can perform. The bill would specifically attack state regulations on mandatory waiting periods, counseling requirements, and ultrasound procedures before abortions.
When introduced, the bill is expected to pass in the House, with the more substantial battle occurring in the Senate. The filibuster rule provides Democrats with an uphill battle in securing at least 60 yes votes in the Senate. There are some moderate Democrats who may also refuse to accept the bill as it is currently written.
The high-stakes battle in Congress could significantly impact the number of abortions performed and might shape federal policy for years to come.
The legislative battle will run alongside the courtroom fight over the constitutionality of the Texas Heartbeat Act. The Supreme Court is also set to hear a case from Mississippi in its future term, leading to Roe v. Wade being overturned as the dominant abortion decision.