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GOP Women Block Abortion Ban on Roe v. Wade Anniversary

Photograph by Getty Images

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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