Democrats Move to Protect Abortion Rights; the President Continues to Dither as the Immigrant Flood Grows
Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Congress should step in and prohibit states from harassing abortion providers and impeding women's right to obtain the procedure, witnesses told a Senate committee hearing Tuesday.
Too many states are "trying to turn back the clock" on women's access to quality care by passing restrictive provisions -- 205 measures have been enacted in the past three years alone, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Democrat, told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
She and others called for passage of the Women's Health Protection Act, a Democrat-sponsored bill that would invalidate any laws that undermine women's right to an abortion, don't advance their health or don't make abortion services safer.
Senate Republicans and their witnesses countered those arguments by asking for a side-by-side Senate votes on the Democrat bill and one introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, that would outlaw most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
"Let's have a joint vote and see where everybody falls out on it," said Mr. Graham, lead sponsor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The Democratic bill was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, and 35 co-sponsors. Supporters said it would stop the "avalanche" of state restrictions, such as requiring building specifications for abortion clinics and local hospital-admitting privileges of abortion doctors.
These laws are being used to close clinics -- Mississippi's lone abortion facility is "holding on" by virtue of a temporary court order, and a Texas law has forced the closing of clinics in "the entire Rio Grande Valley," Nancy Northup, president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the hearing, which was led by Mr. …