Pro-abortion groups say bipartisan ‘Reproductive Freedom for All Act’ doesn’t go far enough

A bill titled the “Reproductive Freedom for All Act” was introduced in early August by senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine). According to a press release on Senator Kaine’s website, the bill aims to “enact in federal law the essential holdings of Roe v. Wade and related cases, protecting abortion rights and contraception access.” It would restore the “undue burden” standard applied in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and essentially reset the legal status of abortion to a pre-Dobbs status quo at the federal level.

But, according to Vox, so-called “abortion rights” groups hate the bill. Why? Primarily, because it doesn’t go far enough.

Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL, stated, “To those who say we want to go back in a time machine to the day before Dobbs, that was still a bad day.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) objected similarly, saying returning to a pre-Dobbs status quo “is not good enough.”

And Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) explained her objection to the bill by complaining that it doesn’t “fully [guarantee] a woman’s right to reproductive choice.” Presumably, a “full guarantee” would involve abortion on demand up to – or even after – birth.

READ: Pro-abortion lawmaker calls pro-lifers ‘extreme’ and a ‘threat’ to the country

Critics also argue that the bill doesn’t actually codify Roe because the language is too vague. A coalition of pro-abortion organizations claimed in a joint statement that the bill “does not expressly prohibit pre-viability abortion bans, leaving states able to continue to pass abortion bans that are denying people access to essential health care across the country. This bill has been written for a world that does not exist and would provide little solace in the nightmare we are living.” 

However, the bill explicitly says that states “shall not impose an undue burden on the ability of women to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability.” It also specifies that “viability” is to be subjectively determined by a woman’s doctor, not a specific, objective guideline, leaving the door wide open for exceptions to any theoretical gestational limit a state might pass.

Pro-abortion opponents of the bill also argue that the bill is a “stunt” because it doesn’t have the necessary Senate votes to pass. Furthermore, they do not believe it would withstand legal challenges, given the current composition of the Supreme Court. However, the “Women’s Health Protection Act” — a bill which would have gone much farther than the “Reproductive Freedom for All Act” and which was favored by the same groups objecting to the latter — would also be subject to legal challenges, and would likely end up before the exact same Court.

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