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House passes abortion rights legislation, challenging Texas law

House passes abortion rights legislation, challenging Texas law
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on September 23. Pelosi has spoken out against the Texas bill banning abortions past six weeks. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI . | License Photo

Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The House passed legislation Friday that would ensure nationwide access to abortion following the Supreme Court's decision allowing Texas to ban abortions.

The Women's Health Protection Act challenges the Texas law that bans abortions past six weeks of pregnancy. It was first introduced in 2013.

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The bill -- which now heads to the Senate where it may stall -- passed the House narrowly with a 218-211 vote. Only one conservative Democrat voted against it.

The act would protect a person's ability to decide to continue or end a pregnancy. Republicans argue that the bill will limit a state's ability to regulate or restrict abortions.

The Texas abortion law allows private citizens to sue anyone who performs or aids an abortion after six weeks and provides at least $10,000 for each successful suit.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the bill is the most extreme abortion ban in half a century and refuses to make exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

The Department of Justice is suing Texas on the grounds that the state enacted the law "in open defiance of the Constitution."

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