House to vote on bill guaranteeing abortion access in response to Texas law

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that the House will vote upon its return to Washington later this month on legislation to guarantee access to abortion after the Supreme Court refused to block a restrictive Texas law that bans most abortions.

Late Wednesday night, the court issued a 5-4 ruling denying an emergency request from abortion providers to block the Texas law, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the three liberal justices in dissent.

Pelosi said that after the House returns to session on Sept. 20, the chamber will vote on a bill from Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) to statutorily protect a person’s ability to seek an abortion and for health care providers to provide abortion services. She called the Texas law “a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health” and a “catastrophe.”

But the Senate is a pretty big barrier to such a bill becoming law: Given that Senate Republicans would likely filibuster any House-passed bill to guarantee abortion access, the legislation faces steep hurdles to becoming law despite narrow Democratic majorities in both chambers and a like-minded president.

Across the Capitol, the Senate companion bill to Chu’s legislation has the support of 48 Democrats. Two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Bob Casey (Pa.), have not signed on as co-sponsors.