Congressional Republicans last week introduced three new anti-abortion bills in the House and one in the Senate, one of which would force a woman to have a medically unnecessary ultrasound before receiving abortion care.
HR 492, which was introduced in the House by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and has ten male GOP co-sponsors, would require women to “receive an ultrasound and the opportunity to review the ultrasound” as a condition of “informed consent” to have an abortion.
The Senate’s latest anti-choice bill, S.201, introduced by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), would make it a crime to take minors across state lines to have an abortion when their home state requires parental notification. The minor or her parent would not be held legally responsible, but any other family member or friend trying to help her access the procedure could be fined or imprisoned for up to a year.
Another bill in the House, HR 489, would require states to report information on Medicaid payments to abortion providers. Federal Medicaid funds can only be used for abortion care in the cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment, but some states choose to cover abortion in other cases using their own money.
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Finally, HR 463 would pull federal education funding from schools that have abortion providers on campus.
At the same time as these new bills were introduced late last week, the House erupted in abortion-related controversy when a vote on a 20-week abortion ban was canceled and another anti-choice bill was passed in its place.
Anti-choice advocates at the March for Life were displeased with that move, but the new bill, which restricts private insurance coverage of abortion, would have effects just as extreme for abortion access and women’s health.
Meanwhile, pro-choice Democrats in Congress reintroduced the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would forbid a range of medically unnecessary, targeted anti-choice laws that have become commonplace at the state level as anti-choice groups push a range of extreme laws.