A federal bill to remove almost all abortion regulations is drawing strong opposition from critics who say that it would be devastating to health and safety of both women and their children. U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), a registered nurse of over 40 years, expressed “grave concerns” about the negative effects that the proposal could have on health and safety standards. In a July 15 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Black warned that the bill — entitled the Women’s Health Protective Act — is actually harmful to women. “Abortions not only pose serious physical health risks, but endanger a women’s mental health as well,” she said. Introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the legislation would ban many restrictions on abortion, including laws to require certain credentials or testing of abortion doctors and laws to prohibit telemedicine abortions, in which the doctor is not in the same room as the patient receiving the abortion pill. It would also prevent laws against sex-selective abortion and bans on abortion after the baby is developed enough to live outside the womb. After “considering the many health care risks that can occur as a result of abortion,” Black emphasized her strong opposition to the bill and to “any other effort that would undermine current laws that exist to protect the health and well-being of women and unborn children at the federal, state, and local level of government.” “Abortion is brutal,” she stressed, “to both the mother and the unborn child. It is not healthcare.” Black’s criticisms were echoed by pro-life and pro-women advocates across the country. In a June 15 letter to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders, a group of 40 state legislators — all of them women — voiced alarm at the “extreme and unwarranted measure.” If passed, they said, the potential law would void “any and all efforts to provide legislative response to abortionists like Kermit Gosnell,” the Philadelphia abortion doctor who was convicted last year of three first-degree murder charges for killing babies who had been born alive at his abortion clinic. Investigations found that Gosnell operated under filthy and dangerous conditions, while testimony indicated that he and his staff snipped the necks of more than 100 infants who survived abortion. He was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient who died of an overdose from drugs administered at the clinic. Passing the “rash and ill-considered” Senate proposal would foster more abuses like those perpetrated by Gosnell, the women cautioned in their letter. In addition, they said, it would further undermine women’s health by removing informed consent protections and allowing non-physicians to carry out abortions, they said. It would also allow for the abortion of children “merely on account of their sex — in nearly all cases because they are, like us, female.” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, also blasted the bill in a July 15 statement. “Not only will the Senate vote to force religious Americans to pay for the abortion drugs of others, the bill under consideration today would invalidate hundreds of pro-life, pro-woman laws,” she said. “The effect? This would enshrine abortion on demand up until birth.”
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