White House endorses bill guaranteeing abortion access
The White House on Monday endorsed legislation that would guarantee abortion access in response to the restrictive Texas law that bans most abortions in the state.
The Women’s Health Protection Act would statutorily protect a person’s ability to seek an abortion and for health care providers to provide abortion services. The White House previously would not support the bill, saying it was looking into options to codify Roe v. Wade.
“In the wake of Texas’ unprecedented attack, it has never been more important to codify this constitutional right and to strengthen health care access for all women, regardless of where they live,” according to a statement of administration policy from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The House Rules Committee is taking up the legislation from Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) on Monday. It faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Republicans would likely filibuster it.
The Senate companion to the House bill has the support of 48 Democrats, but two Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Bob Casey (Pa.), have not signed on as co-sponsors.
The administration statement on Monday called the Texas law a blatant violation of the Supreme Court precedent under Roe v. Wade, saying it “impairs women’s access to critical reproductive health care, particularly affecting communities of color, individuals with low incomes, and those who live in rural or underserved communities.”
It also criticized the bill for turning private citizens “into bounty hunters.” The bill has a provision that allows private citizens to sue anyone who performs or aids an abortion in violation of the statute
“The constitutional rights of women are essential to the health, safety, and progress of our nation. Our daughters and granddaughters deserve the same rights that their mothers and grandmothers fought for and won—and that a clear majority of the American people support. We will not allow this country to go backwards on women’s equality,” the statement said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the lack of an endorsement of the legislation earlier this month and didn’t give an assessment on the White House’s support for it. Abortion rights group NARAL has pushed the White House to voice strong support for the bill.
“We’re still looking at whether that’s a vehicle we’re going to support, but we still support codifying Roe v. Wade,” Psaki told reporters at the time.