WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Only days into their control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans on Wednesday pushed forward two bills regarding abortion.
One would require doctors to provide full medical care to babies born during an attempted abortion. Sponsor Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri has been trying to get the bill off the ground for decades.
“The House will at last take action to ensure that every single baby born in the United States receives life-saving medical care,” Wagner said. “We must act with compassion to protect these little ones and give women a strong support system…”
Republicans also moved a bill that would protect facilities belonging to groups that oppose abortion rights — like churches — from acts of violence.
“Who could be opposed to that?” Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., said.
Republicans say there has been a surge of threats and attacks against anti-abortion rights activists since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling last summer, again allowing states to ban abortion. Democrats say Republicans’ concern is hypocritical.
“I cannot support unless they also recognize the violence against those who are seeking medical care,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said.
She said Republicans’ bills will “criminalize women” and “criminalize medical care.”
Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., said she supports the bills but fears they will backfire.
“I think it sends the wrong message at the wrong time right now, especially in the first week of Congress,” she said. “We need to be showing that we can find some middle ground on this issue.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has already said both bills are doomed in the upper chamber.