Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House will vote on legislation to guarantee abortion access for women when it returns Sept. 20. Pelosi spoke Thursday in response to a Supreme Court decision Wednesday that allowed a Texas law banning most abortions to take effect.
Pelosi told reporters when the House returns to session, a vote will be called on a bill from Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., to statutorily protect a person's ability to seek an abortion and for health care providers to provide abortion services. She called the Texas law "a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health" and a "catastrophe," according to The Hill.
The Texas law, which took effect Wednesday, prohibits abortions after the presence of a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks of pregnancy, The Hill reported. Abortion groups estimate that about 85% to 90% of women who seek an abortion in Texas are at least six weeks pregnant.
The new law also has a provision that allows private citizens to sue anyone who performs or aids an abortion in violation of the statute. It also provides at least $10,000 for each successful suit.
"This ban necessitates codifying Roe v. Wade," Pelosi said, referring to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that prohibits states from banning abortion before a fetus reaches the point of viability, which typically is around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
"Upon our return, the House will bring up Congresswoman Judy Chu’s Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine into law reproductive health care for all women across America," Pelosi said.
Should the House pass Chu’s bill, there is uncertainty of it receiving the approval in the Senate. Senate Republicans would likely filibuster any House-passed bill to guarantee abortion access.
In the Senate, a companion bill to Chu’s has the support of 48 Democrats. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., have not signed on as co-sponsors, The Hill said.
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