Dem Senators Aim to Block State Restrictions on Abortion

That view, Cruz said, is shared “by a tiny percentage of Americans, although a very high percentage of activists in the Democratic Party, who fund and provide manpower politically. It is also a very real manifestation of a war on women, given the enormous health consequences that unlimited abortion has had damaging the health and sometimes even the lives of women.”

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, told the committee that the legislation endeavors to “strip away from elected lawmakers the ability to provide even the most minimal protection for unborn children, at any stage of their pre-natal development.”

Tobias asserted that an abortion procedure should be treated differently because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.

“The great majority of Americans do not believe that abortion is ‘just another medical procedure,’ or that removing an unborn child is equivalent to removal of a malignant tumor,” Tobias said. “The elected representatives of the people have chosen, in many jurisdictions, to enact laws that are based on whole or in part on recognition that abortion is different precisely because every abortion stops a beating heart.”

But Blumenthal, a committee member and the bill’s co-sponsor, asserted that the bill is about “stopping laws that purport to be about health, when really they interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and have the very practical effect of harming women and their constitutionally protected rights.”

"Our goal is to stop politicians from playing doctor,” he said.

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the committee that the Women’s Health Protection Act would serve to “enforce and protect a woman’s right and access to safe, legal abortion care no matter what state she lives in.”

Many of those opposed to abortion, Northup said, are “seeking to make an end run around public opinion and the Constitution itself.”

“They have resorted to obfuscating their true agenda by pushing laws that pretend to be about one thing but are actually about another,” she said. “They claim these laws are about defending women’s health and well-being, and improving the safety of abortion care—but they most assuredly are not. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are advanced by politicians, not by doctors, often based on model legislation written by explicitly anti-abortion groups.”

The Blumenthal-Baldwin bill would “prohibit states from singling out reproductive health care providers with oppressive requirements that grossly exceed what is necessary to ensure high standards of care and that apply to no similar medical practices,” Northup said. “True health and safety laws that apply to similarly situated medical care would be maintained, while dangerous regulations passed under pretext that cut off access to abortion care and endanger women’s health and lives would be prohibited.”