Leading Democrat on abortion law calls Collins-Murkowski bill insufficient

The senator leading the charge on the Democrats’ attempt to codify abortion protections has criticized Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski’s alternative legislation as insufficient.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is the lead sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would enshrine abortion protections in law.

The push to pass abortion safeguards came after Policy disclosed a draft Supreme Court opinion that signaled the court’s intention to strike down Roe vs. Wadethe landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to abortion.

deer and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, the 1992 ruling that affirmed the right to abortion, remains the law of the land until there is an official ruling. But the potential for dramatically reduced abortion access in many states has accelerated Democrats’ desire to pass legislation despite not having enough votes to pass the Health Protection Act. of women and that efforts to pass the legislation earlier this year have failed.

Mr Blumenthal said the legislation proposed by Republican senators from Alaska and Maine would not do enough to protect access to abortion.

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“These are too many loopholes and loopholes that would easily allow TRAP laws, which impose requirements, for example, that the width of the warrant of corridors, admitting privileges,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “But also allow six-week bans, eight-week bans. I think our legislation really fully and admirably protects reproductive rights in a way that this bill doesn’t.

Some conservatives say hallway width is important to ensure patient safety while abortion rights supporters say it has little or nothing to do with it.

The TRAP laws refer to targeted restrictions on abortion providers intended to make it harder for people to seek one.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speaks during an event on the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on May 3, 2022

(Getty Images)

According to the American Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, admitting privileges are formal agreements between a doctor and a hospital that allow the hospital to directly admit patients to the hospital to provide services to the patient. The organization says they are not necessary for continuity of care.

Many states, including Texas and Oklahoma, have already passed laws aimed at dramatically reducing abortion. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a law earlier this week banning nearly all abortions in the last six weeks of pregnancy, while Texas passed a similar law last year, leading people seeking an abortion to travel to northern Oklahoma.

“I think our legislation fully and adequately protects reproductive rights in a way that this bill doesn’t,” Blumenthal said. Asked if he would work with Ms Collins or Ms Murkowski to draft a compromise, Mr Blumenthal said: ‘I’m happy to talk and hope we talk because any pro-choice senator should support the Women’s Health Protection Act. .”

Ms. Collins criticized Mr. Blumenthal’s legislation, saying his legislation overrides federal and state protections on whether or not a provider can choose not to participate in an abortion for reasons of conscience, such as religion.

The Maine senator reiterated that point to CNN’s Manu Raju, saying the law would not protect the right of Catholic hospitals not to participate in an abortion.

But Mr. Blumenthal refuted this claim.

“There’s nothing in there that obligates a provider to provide any type of care,” he said. The Collins-Murkowski Act, known as the Reproductive Choice Act, says it would codify deer and Caseyand says that states cannot place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to an abortion before fetal viability, but would allow states to impose restrictions after fetal viability and allow states to enact regulations for protect the health and safety of women.

But Mr Blumenthal said it still significantly restricted access to abortion. Under the Women’s Health Protection Act, state governments would not be allowed to restrict a provider’s ability to prescribe certain abortion drugs, offer telemedicine abortion services, or provide services immediately if it is determined that a delay could harm a mother’s life.

The legislation also prohibits state governments from performing unnecessary medical procedures; requiring providers to disseminate misinformation about abortions; have references and regulations that have nothing to do with abortion; or perform all related services.

“This bill essentially preserves the status quo in Roe vs. Wadeis the protection of women’s rights,” said Blumenthal.

Ms. Collins also said she was concerned that Mr. Blumenthal’s legislation could override the Hyde Amendment, which bars the federal government from using federal dollars to pay for abortions.

“There is nothing in this legislation about the Hyde Amendment,” he said. “There is nothing in this measure that in any way undermines existing protections based on conscience, religion. It does not compel a hospital, doctor or other provider to do anything that is contrary to religious principles or conscience. »

Alex Woodward contributed to this report

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