US House passes bills to protect abortion access, Senate approval unlikely

Move comes weeks after Supreme Court ruled that individual states can ban or restrict procedure; bill would protect women who travel out of state for abortions

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by female House Democrats, speaks at an event ahead of a House vote on the Women's Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Women's Right to Reproductive Freedom Act at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, July 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by female House Democrats, speaks at an event ahead of a House vote on the Women's Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Women's Right to Reproductive Freedom Act at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, July 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — The US House of Representatives adopted two bills on Friday aimed at protecting access to abortion after the Supreme Court ruled that individual states can ban or restrict the procedure.

The legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled House is unlikely, however, to advance in the Senate, where 10 Republican votes would be needed to bring the measures to the floor.

“Just three weeks ago, the Supreme Court took a wrecking ball to fundamental rights by overturning Roe v. Wade,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, referring to the landmark case that enshrined legal access to abortion.

“That is why today, our pro-choice, pro-women Democratic majority stands resolute,” Pelosi said. “We will take further action to defend women’s reproductive freedom.”

The first bill, the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” adopted only with Democratic support, would legalize abortion throughout the US.

The House passed a similar bill last year but it failed in the Senate.

The other bill adopted on Friday would provide legal protection to women who leave one state to undergo an abortion in another.

Several conservative states have already banned abortion since the Supreme Court ruling, and about half of the 50 US states are expected to impose near or total bans in weeks or months to come.

Democratic US President Joe Biden denounced last month’s abortion ruling by the conservative-dominated Supreme Court and has urged Americans to turn out in large numbers to vote in November’s midterm elections.

The party in power tends to perform poorly in the midterms, however, and Democrats risk losing their majority in the House and their slim hold on the Senate.

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