Republican-controlled US House pushes for new abortion restrictions

© Sarah Silbiger, Reuters

Republican US lawmakers passed legislation Wednesday shoring up their anti-abortion credentials -- despite accusations from within their own ranks that they were out of step with more moderate public opinion on the deeply-sensitive issue.

Republicans reclaimed a majority in the House of Representatives this month, giving them a handle on power in Washington for the first time since last year's Supreme Court decision gutting federal protections for the right to abortion.

Wasting no time in picking up the hot-button issue, the chamber green-lit two resolutions -- the least controversial of which condemns attacks on churches, groups and facilities involved in anti-abortion activism.

Lawmakers in the lower chamber of Congress also approved legislation requiring health care providers to ensure infants who survive late term abortions, typically taken to mean after around 21 weeks of pregnancy, are looked after.

The legislation is largely symbolic, since it targets an extremely rare outcome -- about one percent of abortions are late term -- and the protection is already codified in a bipartisan 2002 law establishing that infants have the rights of a full human.

The resolutions passed roughly along party lines, with almost no Democratic support -- but have no chance of being rubber-stamped by the Democratic-controlled Senate.


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