House GOP Begins March Toward Nationwide Abortion Ban With Two ‘Absurd’ Proposals

"Once again, Republicans are proving how dangerously out of touch they are with mainstream America," said Sen. Chuck Schumer.

By Julia Conley | 11 January 2023
Common Dreams

(Photo: Victoria Pickering / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said two pro-forced pregnancy proposals put forward by House Republicans would be “doomed” in the upper chamber of Congress, as advocates warned that even though the bills stand no chance currently of being passed into law, the misinformation contained in the legislation will still endanger pregnant people and providers.

The Republicans introduced one resolution to condemn acts of violence against “crisis pregnancy centers” and other facilities where pregnant people are pressured out of seeking abortion care—but not abortion clinics, where dozens of bombings, acts of arson, and assaults have taken place since 1977, according to the National Abortion Federation.

Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.) said on social media Wednesday that he was “heading to the House floor right now to debate an anti-choice bill that fails to condemn violence against abortion clinics, providers, staff, and patients.”

To counter the proposed resolution, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced a resolution condemning all acts of political violence, warning that singling out attacks on anti-abortion facilities sends “a very dangerous signal to extremists across this country” and “will only embolden those who are spreading the hate-filled rhetoric that’s tearing this country apart.”

The second Republican proposal will also endanger medical providers and pregnant people across the U.S., said advocates as they spoke out against the so-called “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” which was first introduced in early 2019.

The proposal would threaten medical providers with up to five years in prison if they are accused of failing to try to save infants who continue to live outside the womb after an abortion that takes place later in pregnancy—which make up roughly 1% of abortions in the U.S. and are often administered in cases involving fetal anomalies and endangerment of the pregnant patient’s life.

When the bill was first introduced on the House floor in 2019, Robin Marty, author of The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America, wrote that Republicans’ rhetoric regarding the proposal made it seem “like the most serious threat facing the nation is a rampage of violent and unethical medical professionals pressuring pregnant people into post-viability abortions, mismanaging the process, and then murdering those now-delivered infants with the express permission of the new parents.”

“The ‘Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act’ isn’t just an unnecessary and burdensome answer to a fictitious scenario that has no bearing in the way abortion has been provided for the last three decades,” she added. “It’s a political tool meant to keep the Republican Party in power after the 2020 elections.”

Now, said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Republicans’ goal in introducing the bill is to begin “a march towards criminalizing abortion care, a nationwide ban.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, denounced the bill as “absurd,” noting, “it is obviously ALREADY illegal to kill a baby.”

“For years the anti-choice movement has spread disinformation—including wild lies about abortion—as part of their campaign to curtail and ultimately end access,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Now, the GOP is using these dangerous lies to try to pass anti-choice bills that harm pregnant people and their families.”

The GOP proposed the legislation less than two months after the midterm elections, in which Americans across the country resoundingly rejected attacks on abortion rights. In Montana, more than 52% of voters rejected a ballot measure similar to the federal “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.”

“Just months after a historically disappointing midterm election, the MAGA Republican-controlled House is putting on full display their truly extreme views on women’s health with legislation that does not have the support of the American people,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “Once again, Republicans are proving how dangerously out of touch they are with mainstream America.”

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