A number of lawmakers voted against their parties Friday on two bills to protect abortion access, which the House passed exactly three weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The lower chamber voted 223-205 on the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, a measure that seeks to protect women who travel to a different state to receive an abortion if the state they are residing in does not offer the medical procedure.
It also makes it unlawful for facilities in states where the abortion is legal to restrict access for out-of-state individuals, allows for the state-to-state transportation of abortion drugs that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and protects individuals who help others receive an abortion out of state.
Three Republicans voted for the bill, bucking GOP leadership’s recommendation to oppose the measure: Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.).
The Hill reached out to the three lawmakers for comment. Kinzinger and Upton are retiring at the end of this term.
The House on Friday also cleared the Women’s Health Protection Act in a 219-210 vote, passing the measure for the second time in the past year. The House approved the bill in September, but the Senate has blocked it twice.
The legislation would codify the right to abortion into federal law, allowing individuals across the country to access the medical procedure.
One Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas), voted with Republicans and opposed the measure, while all Democrats present supported the bill.
The Hill reached out to Cuellar for comment.
Cueller’s vote against the bill does not come as a total surprise — the Texas Democrat also voted “no” in September when the House brought the measure up for a vote.
He defended his vote in October, saying “it’s called conscience.”
“I am a Catholic, and I do believe in rights, right to life, and it’s just a conscious. And sometimes people vote because of political, they think this is a Democratic or Republican issue, to me it’s just a matter of conscience,” he added, according to KGNS.
His vote on Friday will, however, likely spark frustration among progressives, who sought to unseat the anti-abortion Democrat in a re-election primary in May. That effort ultimately failed, with Cuellar receiving backing from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) in his race against Democrat Jessica Cisneros and winning the party’s nomination in a tight runoff by fewer than 300 votes, according to a recount that was conducted.
When the race was still too close to call, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter, “On the day of a mass shooting and weeks after news of Roe, Democratic Party leadership rallied for a pro-NRA, anti-choice incumbent under investigation in a close primary. Robocalls, fundraisers, all of it.”
She was referring to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the leak of a Supreme Court draft majority opinion that showed the bench was poised to overturn Roe.
The House voted on the pair of abortion bills exactly three weeks after the Supreme Court made the draft official and issued a ruling that reversed Roe, the 1973 decision that protected access to the medical procedure on the federal level.