US House passes abortion rights and access bills; all SWFL reps oppose; Banyai blasts Donalds

The House side of the US Capitol. (Photo: Architect of the Capitol)

June 15, 2022 by David Silverberg

The US House of Representatives this afternoon passed a pair of bills ensuring a woman’s right to choose and access to abortion services.

Southwest Florida’s members of Congress opposed both bills along with most other Republicans in Congress.

The first bill was the Women’s Health Protection Act (House Resolution (HR) 8296), which passed by a party-line vote of 219 to 210. It prohibits any restrictions on women’s access to abortion services, essentially codifying the rights and protections contained in Roe vs, Wade.

The second bill was the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act (HR 8297), which passed by a vote of 223 to 205. The bill prohibits interference with a person’s ability to travel to another state to access abortion services. Three Republicans voted with the majority: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-1-Pa.), Adam Kinzinger (R-16-Ill.) and Fred Upton (R-6-Mich.).

“By passing this legislation, we will preempt and prevent state-level bans and restrictions put forth by extremist, anti-women state legislators,” said House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.) in a floor speech prior to the votes.  “We’ll ensure that all Americans enjoy the same fundamental rights to reproductive care – regardless of background or ZIP code.  And we offer hope to the American people who treasure our freedoms and who are overwhelmingly with us in our mission to defend them.”

Southwest Florida’s representatives, already on the record opposing women’s choice, were outspoken in their rejection of the bills.

Rep. Byron Donalds and response

“The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 is an affront to our system of Checks and Balances and blatantly ignores the Court’s ruling which allows states––not Congress––to enact abortion-related policy,” stated Rep. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.) in a tweet just prior to the vote. “I will vote NO on any effort to expand abortion access in America.”

In a more extended statement he called the Democratic Party “the party of abortion on demand and without limits, including the unconscionable practice of infanticide. This ideology is sick, perverse and erodes our nation’s moral compass.”

Cindy Banyai, the Democrat challenging Donalds in the 19th District tweeted: “Thank you Democrats for standing up for women’s rights and access to abortion care. It’s beyond time to codify Roe.”

She also blasted Donalds: “Rep Byron Donalds has made it clear – his religion trumps your health and your right to body autonomy. Donalds is pro-forced birth. And his insinuation that Democrats support infanticide is disgusting and dangerous misinformation.”

Jim Huff, a Republican challenging Donalds in the 19th Congressional District primary, stated in a message to The Paradise Progressive: “Had it been me in office I would have surveyed my district the instant Dobbs was finalized for a better justification to back up these votes. The state forms the local guidance, but the federal government protects the freedom to seek alternatives in other states. For example, certain types of weapons are legal in some states and not in others, yet people have the right to choose where they may live. I have to represent the majority of my district for these hard decisions, not my personal beliefs.”

Steube and Diaz-Balart

Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), a long-time opponent of women’s choice, tweeted: “Over 63 million children have been murdered since Roe was decided. That’s not freedom – that’s genocide.” He also made a one-minute speech against the bill in which he denied there had ever been a right to abortion under the US Constitution.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) did not issue a statement on any platform in the immediate wake of the vote.

The bills now go to the Senate where they are not expected to gain the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster and be passed into law.

Liberty lives in light

© 2022 by David Silverberg

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