A sweeping bill that could eliminate many commonsense state laws protecting women from the harms of abortion was considered in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday.
“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,” summarizes Bill Saunders of Americans United for Life.
The misleadingly named “Women’s Health Protection Act,” S. 1696, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., would do just the opposite of its euphemistic title. Effectively, it would strip states of the ability to protect the health and safety of women and defend the lives of unborn children.
“[S. 1696] is an extraordinarily broad, blunt instrument that through its ranging words would substitute the special interests of the abortion industry for both the well-being of women and the value of human life,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., explained yesterday during testimony.
As the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute points out in a legal analysis of the bill, Blumenthal’s legislation would jeopardize dozens of state policies that seek to protect the health and lives of women and unborn children.
The far-reaching bill could threaten commonsense laws requiring licensed physicians to perform abortions, placing basic health and safety regulations on abortion clinics, and regulating telemedicine abortions. Also under threat are state laws limiting late-term abortions performed after 20 weeks, when the child can feel pain, or prohibiting sex-selective abortion. And ultrasound requirements and waiting periods – policies that have provided women the information and time to consider their decision – would likewise be jeopardized by S. 1696.
>>>Read more about commonsense pro-life laws: Bear Witness to the Truth about Unborn Human Life
The legislation could also open new doors for taxpayer funding of elective abortion and potentially undermine conscience rights protections for medical professionals who object to participating in elective abortion.
The Blumenthal’s bill effects on women could be devastating. “A substantial body of literature indicates that induced abortion is associated with significant risks and potential harms to women,” Monique V. Chireau, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Duke University Medical Center explains in written testimony.
In addition to potential negative psychological and physical risks of abortion, “research has demonstrated that the risks associated with abortion increase dramatically with gestational age,” Chireau continued. Essentially prohibiting states from informing and protecting women from these risks, as the Blumenthal bill could do, does a grave disservice to women’s dignity, lives, and safety.
As Americans witnessed during the trial exposing the gruesome legacy of Philadelphia late-term abortionist, Kermit Gosnell, the risks of abortion are only exacerbated by a largely unregulated abortion industry. Today, abortion clinics across the country are under investigation for dangerous, unsanitary conditions that routinely jeopardize women’s lives and health.
Yet, explains Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life: “S. 1696 would greatly impede the ability of states to curb the activities of those abortion providers who most frequently injure or kill women, or exploit them in various ways – an area in which many jurisdictions have been unduly lax for decades.”
The overreaching Blumenthal legislation is at odds with the growing consensus among Americans about protecting unborn life.
Two-thirds of Americans—including 60 percent of women—believe late-term abortion should generally be illegal. And 80 percent generally oppose abortions in the third trimester, when the child can live outside the womb and women are at a much greater risk for complications. Strong majorities, including those who consider themselves “pro-choice,” support the very state policies on abortion the Blumenthal bill would threaten.
Jeopardizing the gains of more than 40 years in protecting the lives of women and unborn children is a stance that disregards the views of most Americans and the duty of government to protect the life of every person – born and yet to be.