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GOP Women Block Abortion Ban on Roe v. Wade Anniversary

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Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, guaranteeing women in the United States would have the constitutional right to abortions, and providing a political wedge issue for the GOP in every major election since. National Organization for Women activists and other pro-choice supporters are gathering in Washington, D.C., today to mark the anniversary.

Some House Republicans had hoped to mark the day by introducing a vote on a bill that would ban abortions at 20 weeks. But a 20-member bloc, led by female members of the party, revolted and wouldn't let the deceptively named “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” come to a vote.

The vote not the ban was supposed to coincide with the annual March for Life, a gathering in the capital of anti-abortion leaders and activists. Instead, the House will vote today on a bill that prohibits federal funding for abortions. The Washington Post describes the bill as "a more innocuous anti-abortion measure that the Republican-controlled chamber has passed before."

The GOP revolt was led by Reps. Rene Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) who did not agree with the bill's restrictive language, worrying it would not do the party any favors with young and female voters. The bill had a rape exception, but only if the rape had been reported to police. Abortion rights activists are quick to point out that a majority of rapes are still not reported to law enforcement.

A majority of voting Americans in both parties are in favor of safe, legal access to abortion.

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