Congressional Democrats offer bill to protect abortion rights

Nov. 13, 2013 at 8:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday mounted an effort to thwart states' attempts to clamp down on abortion rights.

They introduced legislation that would protect abortion rights at the federal level by banning restrictive requirements enacted by individual states, Washington publication The Hill reported. The bill would prohibit such things as requiring doctors to perform medically unnecessary tests and procedures.

"A woman's right to choose is meaningless if she's stripped of her options," Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., told reporters at a news conference. "State laws eroding access to abortion create unnecessary hurdles and jeopardize women's health. We're introducing the Women's Health Protection Act today to ensure every woman can access safe medical care regardless of where she lives."

Reps. Marcia Fudge of Ohio and Lois Frankel of Florida are co-sponsoring the measure in the House. On the Senate side, the legislation is being carried by Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Barbara Boxer of California.

The Hill said 29 senators and 53 representatives had signed on as co-sponsors as of Wednesday.

The intent, Boxer said, is to "codify Roe v. Wade ... so that we don't have to fight these battles state by state by state by state."

The Democrats' legislative strategy counters that of Republicans, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who last week introduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy. A similar bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Frank, R-Ariz., passed the House in June.

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