WASHINGTON — Republicans in the House of Representatives are taking urgent action on abortion with their new majority, approving two measures Wednesday that make it clear they want further restrictions after the Supreme Court struck down the federal right to abortion last year.
The new Republican-led House of Representatives passed one resolution condemning attacks on anti-abortion facilities, including emergency pregnancy centers, and a separate bill introducing new penalties if a doctor refuses to care for a baby born alive after an attempted abortion.
Neither is expected to pass the Democratic-led Senate, but Republicans have said they are making good on promises to address this issue, along with other legislative priorities, in their early days in office.
“You won’t have freedom, real freedom, if the government doesn’t protect your most fundamental right, your right to life,” said new House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan, of Ohio, who led the debate on the measures.
However, the two measures are far from the bold pronouncement on abortion that proved politically challenging for Republicans after the June Supreme Court decision struck down Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years and allowed states to impose a near-to-total ban on abortion. While some Republicans pushed for expanding the solution with a national ban or a compromise ban that would restrict abortions after a certain point, many rejected the option. And it became clear that most Americans would be against it.
A July AP-NORC poll found that Republicans are generally against allowing abortions “for any reason” after 15 weeks of pregnancy. But just 16% of Republicans say abortion should be “illegal in all cases” at all, and a majority, 56%, say their states should allow six-week abortions at all. According to AP VoteCast, a national poll of the intermediate electorate. , 61% of all voters said they support a law guaranteeing access to legal abortions nationwide.
National sentiment has left some Republicans wary of the party’s traditional strong opposition to abortion rights.
South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mays, a Republican who says she is against abortion, said she thinks pushing the issue early is misguided. She said she believes a majority of voters in her swing district opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe’s decision.
“This is probably not the best way to start the week,” Mace told MSNBC.