Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in a party-line vote that has serious implications for women seeking abortions. The bill, called the Conscience Protection Act, is a TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law.
These laws are designed to deliberately limit women’s access to abortions.
The Conscience Protection Act was drafted by Republic members of the House in 2014 after California mandated coverage for elective abortions under the Affordable Care Act. If it were to become law, the bill would allow health providers to refuse to provide or cover abortions without risking penalties. This includes physicians, insurance agents and even people in low-level administrative positions. Currently, health providers in states such as California can face financial penalties if they refuse to participate in abortion services.
House Republicans have argued that the bill is designed to protect health providers’ “freedom of conscience,” while seeming to ignore the fact that this could easily come at the expensive of women’s own reproductive freedom and health.
Many of the representatives opposed to the bill see it as a transparent political ploy to gain additional support from the religious right for the Republican candidate in this year’s presidential election. The bill is unlikely to gain support in the Senate, and even if it were to pass it would almost certainly face a presidential veto. That said, it’s disturbing that House Republicans are willing to put millions of women’s health in jeopardy for the sake of scoring quick political points with a niche voter demographic.