House

Texas rep ‘working on’ bill to expand state’s abortion law nationwide

A congressman from Texas said he plans to introduce legislation in the House that would ban abortion at the federal level.

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said he is working on modeling the legislation after a Texas law that bans abortion at six weeks of pregnancy, significantly reducing abortion access in the state.

“I’m working on it actually, right now,” Arrington said Thursday at a press conference. “I’d like to have that [Texas’s law] the law of the land and I think that is the ideal for me.”

The Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to an abortion last month, upholding a Mississippi state law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. People in more than a dozen states with “trigger laws” — abortion bans designed to take effect after the court overturned Roe v. Wade — are now facing limited or no access to abortions.

As Republicans attempt to take back the House and Senate in November, some are suggesting that banning abortion in all 50 states will be on their priority list since the court’s ruling allows each state to decide its own abortion laws.

“I understand and respect and also support the decision that the Supreme Court made, which is until such time there is legislation that passes the legislative body at the federal level then we delegate it to the states,” Arrington said. 

“It’s a steeper hill to climb in Washington, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to start climbing it now,” Arrington continued.

Even if Republicans controlled Congress in November, they would be unlikely to achieve 60 votes in the Senate on any abortion ban, and it is almost guaranteed President Biden would not sign it into law.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in May that Republicans would pursue the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act — requiring any infant who survives an abortion to receive care — if they hold a majority after midterms. 

Abortions after 21 weeks of pregnancy, when a fetus could potentially survive outside the womb, only represent 1 percent of all abortions in the United States, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Other bills that Republicans would be likely to pursue are the Life at Conception Act, which would recognize rights “from the moment of fertilization,” and the Heartbeat Protection Act, which would ban abortion after cardiac activity can be detected in the fetus.

House Republicans previously passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, in 2015 and 2017.

Leaders in the party have differed on to what extent abortion should be banned. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told CNN he would support a 15-week ban at the federal level, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doubted to reporters that a ban would make it through the Senate in the face of the filibuster.

It will likely be a hot topic among candidates in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is reportedly flirting with a bid, said “we must not rest” until abortion is banned in every state. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, another potential candidate, tapped state lawmakers to draft a 15-week abortion ban bill.

Tags abortion Glenn Youngkin Jodey Arrington Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Texas

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