The danger of this bill was strongly denounced by EWTN's Chairman and CEO Michael Warsaw. “This is the most extreme piece of abortion legislation to ever receive a vote in the U.S. Senate,” he wrote in the National Catholic Register.
What is the WHPA?
The WHPA would prohibit abortion restrictions or bans “that are more burdensome than those restrictions imposed on medically comparable procedures, do not significantly advance reproductive health or the safety of abortion services, and make abortion services more difficult to access.”
The act’s text lists a series of specific restrictions it would do away with, on everything from limitations on telemedicine to restrictions around viability, which the act defines as the point when a fetus can survive outside the womb — determined by “the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider.”
The WHPA would forbid any kind of limit on abortion before fetal viability, including “a prohibition or restriction on a particular abortion procedure.” After viability, the WHPA would outlaw limits on abortion “when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
National pro-life groups, such as SBA List, have expressed concern over this section because the Supreme Court, in Doe v. Bolton, broadly defined what “may relate to health,” including “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the wellbeing of the patient.”
SBA List previously warned that the WHPA would also “nullify pro-life laws in states across the country, including late-term abortion limits when unborn children can feel pain, waiting periods, informed consent laws, antidiscrimination laws, and more.”
Last September, the House passed the WHPA in a vote that fell along party lines, with one Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, joining Republicans to vote against it. Along the way, the Biden administration repeatedly expressed support for the bill.
Pro-life leaders respond to the vote
Ahead of the vote, multiple pro-life leaders expressed concern over the WHPA and stressed that the act ignored the will of the people.
“The March for Life condemns this bill in the strongest possible terms,” Mancini said. “The misnamed Women’s Health Protection Act is the most radical abortion bill in United States history.”
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She cited a Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll survey released in January that found that 71% of Americans, including 49% of Democrats, want to see abortion limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, also criticized the WHPA.
“Biden, Pelosi and Schumer’s ‘Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act’ would enshrine an unlimited abortion ‘right’ in federal law and block common ground pro-life laws around the country, including limits on late-term abortions when unborn babies feel pain, bans on lethal discrimination abortions, and many more,” she said. “[N]ational Democratic leaders’ support for abortion on demand without limits, at taxpayer expense, is grossly out of step with the will of the American people.”
As president and founder of Live Action, Lila Rose wanted that if the WHPA passed, it “would be the single most destructive piece of legislation enacted in the history of our nation.”
Like Mancini and Dannenfelser, she said, “The American people do not want this horrific bill aimed exclusively at ensuring the ongoing and expanded destruction of hundreds of thousands of helpless, innocent preborn children.”
“We must walk with families materially, emotionally, and spiritually to show them that they can choose life for their children,” she added. “The Women's Health Protection Act does the exact opposite, radically expanding the killing of children through all nine months of pregnancy.”