More than 100 Democrats are fighting back against the rising tide of abortion restrictions flooding state legislatures after big GOP wins in recent elections.
Members of the House and Senate reintroduced a bill Wednesday that would prevent state lawmakers from passing laws that make it tougher for women to get abortions, including mandatory ultrasounds or "personhood" amendments that grant legal rights to fertilized eggs.
The bill, the “Women's Health Protection Act,” has 33 co-sponsors in the Senate and at least 60 in the House, Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalOvernight Tech: AT&T, Time Warner CEOs defend merger before Congress | More tech execs join Trump team | Republican details path to undoing net neutrality Overnight Energy: Trump taps EPA foe to head agency | Energy reform bill officially dead CNN’s parent company promises to defend journalistic independence MORE (D-Conn.) said during the briefing.
The party’s renewed push for abortion rights comes one day before the House is slated to vote on a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks.
Activists had timed that bill with the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade, as well as the massive anti-abortion rally, March for Life – making this the biggest week for abortion advocates in years.
Democrats looking to renew focus on abortion are pointing to an onslaught of more than 230 anti-abortion laws that have been passed by states including Texas, Wisconsin and Tennessee in recent years.
Legislative attacks on abortion spiked following the Republican wave election of 2010, when the party made gains in state legislatures around the country.
Since then, the number of abortion clinics has shrunk by nearly one-quarter over the last five years, with 60 facilities shuttered in 2014, according to research by the anti-abortion rights group Operation Rescue.
On the federal level, five anti-abortion bills have been introduced in the Senate while two have made it to the House so far this year, Blumenthal said.
“The threat to women’s healthcare and reproductive rights is urgent, clear and present. The threats are real, reprehensive and growing,” warned Blumenthal, who is the lead sponsor of the Senate bill alongside Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinFight over water bill heats up in Senate Overnight Finance: Funding bill expected tonight | Trump takes on Boeing | House rejects push for IRS impeachment vote | Dow hits new high Dems introduce ‘Buy America’ amendment to water bill MORE (D-Wis.).
Blumenthal said he was “working very actively” to gain GOP support for the bill, but declined to say which Republicans he believed could join the Democrats.
Blumenthal will also join a group of Democrats later Wednesday to sound off on House Republicans’ effort to pass the 20-week abortion ban. President Obama threatened to veto the bill on Tuesday.