With only 126 days of work this year, the GOP-controlled House chose Tuesday to spend time on a bill that Republicans themselves acknowledged has no chance of becoming law.
Congress voted Tuesday, 228-196, to pass the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, citing a widely-discredited study. The bill makes exceptions in cases of rape and incest if the woman reports the crime to authorities. President Obama has stated that he plans to veto the bill if it made to his desk.
The vote Tuesday passed largely along party lines, with only six Democrats voting in favor of the ban, and six Republicans opposed. “This bill is going nowhere,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said on msnbc Tuesday night after the vote. “But more importantly, it criminalizes, it endangers women, it endangers the relationship between a physician and a woman.”
Democrats also responded with frustration over the amount of time dedicated to a bill that will never become a law. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted on Tuesday: “[Zero] jobs bills, more attacks on a woman’s right to make health decisions…”
Jackson Lee added that the bill will take up hours in judiciary committee hearings, hours of mark up, hours in the rules committee, hours taken away from committee time, all to debate “a bill that is patently unconstitutional.”
On the other side of the aisle, the women of the Republican Party are cheering the bill on. (The six Republicans who voted against the bill were all men.) Rep. Marsha Blackburn, one of the women at the forefront of the pro-life effort, tweeted on Tuesday that the passage of the bill in the House was a “[h]istoric moment for the #prolife movement.”
The bill challenges the Supreme Court’s ruling of Roe v. Wade—a ruling that 70% of Americans have said they do not wish to be overturned, according to a 2013 NBC/WSJ poll.
Over 10 states have already implemented similar anti-abortion laws.