Democrat Henry Cuellar Lone to vote against abortion right as bill passes through House
The House voted 218-211 today to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, a law that would “protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy, and protect the ability of a health care provider to provide abortion services “.
In an attempt to codify the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, the bill was passed in a partisan fashion, with Henry Cuellar of Texas being the only Democrat to vote no against the effort.
Cuellar’s vote contrasts sharply with his party’s position. The issue of abortion has become an increasingly important issue in the American political polarization with the Pew Research Center reporting that 80 percent of Democrats support the legality of abortion while 63 percent of Republicans said it should be illegal. The passage of this bill marked a historic moment for the role of this issue in American politics.
âFinally, we have a pro-choice House Democratic caucus, which is the majority of the House,â House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the vote. “This is the first Congress that can make this claim.”
Cuellar, which represents the 28th District of Texas, which stretches across the West Texas border from McAllen in Laredo to San Antonio, represents an electoral base that identifies itself as 79 percent Hispanic and has a Catholic majority, according to data collected by Daily Kos.
While Pew estimates that 68 percent of Hispanic Catholics are somewhat Democratic, the Public Religion Research Institute reported that 52 percent of Hispanic Catholics oppose legal abortion in most or all cases. Cuellar identifies as both Hispanic and Roman Catholic, according to Capitol Hill newspaper Call.
Pope Francis, who heads the Catholic Church, recently called abortion “murder”.
Cuellar ranked as the third most politically right-wing Democrat in the House, behind Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, according to GovTrack, and joined the fourth most bipartisan bill of all. the Democrats. He has also already voted against abortion measures. In 2015, he voted in favor of a 20-week ban on abortion.
The vote comes in the wake of Texas’ six week post pregnancy abortion law as Mississippi seeks to pass its own bill banning abortions after 15 weeks.
While this vote is a big milestone for House Democrats, it will take 60 votes to pass a likely Republican obstruction in the Senate, which is unlikely.
In response to the Senate version of this bill likely to be dropped by Republican intervention, New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on her colleagues to unite to repeal the filibuster.
âWe need to pass federal laws to protect the right to a safe and legal abortion,â she wrote in a tweet. “We must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to end these cruel state prohibitions against our rights. And we cannot let the filibuster stand in our way.”