From Bill Foster (D, Naperville) congressional office press release of Friday, July 15:
Foster Votes to Restore Reproductive Rights and Abortion Access Nationwide
Washington, DC – Today [Friday], Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, two bills that would ensure access to abortion care nationwide:
“As the Trump-packed Supreme Court and radical lawmakers across the nation wage an all-out assault against reproductive rights, Congress’ work to defend every woman’s basic health freedoms has never been more important.
“The Women’s Health Protection Act, which I was proud to help pass for a second time, would enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law to ensure access to reproductive health care, including abortion care, for women in every state.
“I was also proud to vote for the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, which would protect women who exercise their constitutional right to travel across state lines to seek reproductive health care.Congressman Bill Foster statement, 7/15/22
“The American people overwhelmingly support access to safe, affordable reproductive care for all, and I am proud to stand with them in this fight. The House has done its part – it’s time for the Senate to vote to place these protections into federal law.”
Some applied discernment needed on both Congressman Foster’s statement from Friday along with the lack of a response from Republican challenger Catalina Lauf (R, Woodstock), not just to Friday’s votes, but to the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24 with the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling.
Foster’s statement “American people overwhelmingly support access to safe, affordable reproductive care for all” is a deceptive half-truth compared with the twin bills the House Democrats passed on Friday. No survey shows support of any kind for abortion-on-demand up to the moment of birth.
A middle ground by some mainstream independent voters believe women have a right to choose to end a pregnancy within the 1st trimester, but after that, only threat to the mother’s life justifies ending a preganancy in their eyes.
The two House bills, with links to their respective texts are:
- H.R. 8296, “Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022” or WHPA similar to H.R. 3755 passed in the House last fall, and filibustered in the Senate on February 28
- H.R. 8297, “Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022” or EAAA
The Democrats’ stated goal is to “codify Roe v. Wade“. Both bills, particularly WHPA, go far beyond codifying Roe v. Wade because in addition to codification, the legislation attempts to usurp States Rights on abortion made legal by the Supreme Court under the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, the 1989 ruling which allowed states to impose reasonable restrictions on abortion, including parental consent when an abortion decision involves a minor.
The votes on Friday went along party lines, beginning with WHPA, which had no Republican support, and one lone Democrat, pro-life Congressman Henry Cuellar (D, TX-28) who survived a primary runoff challenge on May 24 by 289 votes, voting against the WHPA:
The second bill, EAAA, had no Democrats vote against, but three Republicans, including lame-duck Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R, Channahon) voted in favor of it.
Both of these bills are doomed in the U.S. Senate, where the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster alone would prevent a vote. Additionally, Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) has twice voted with Republicans to filibuster the WHPA of 2021, both on February 28, and in May, when Manchin stated the bill, “goes too far” from codifying Roe v. Wade.
Some may think, “With states imposing different laws, shouldn’t access to abortion services be ensured?” as some may think H.R. 8297 would do? Rising star Congresswoman Mayra Flores (R, TX-34) thoroughly dialed through what H.R. 8297 would really do in her floor speech on Friday:
As noted in a previous article, Congresswoman Flores’ Democrat opponent on November 8, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D, TX-15) was on the floor and voted in favor of both bills, so in the new TX-34, right-to-life and these two votes, and Gonzalez’s previous vote favoring abortion-on-demand, will be an issue in the fall in South Texas.
From the desk of John Lopez: Catalina Lauf Must Be Clear Where She Stands on a National Abortion Ban and Can’t Stay Silent when Foster Casts Controversial Votes
While Lauf has a published plank on her campaign website that she is a “Pro-Life Conservative”, Lauf stayed away from stating if she would support a nationwide abortion ban if one is proposed in a Republican-controlled House, as most expect the House will be flipped on November 8.
During the primary campaign, the question of a national abortion ban came up at the Daily Herald editorial board interview on May 6, and again at the McHenry Township Republicans candidates forum on June 4, both events skipped by Lauf. She side-stepped the question at the Sun City Civics Committee candidates forum in Huntley on June 14.
In a May 16 statement, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) stated the following:
“Catalina Lauf…must let Illinois voters know whether [she] agree[s]…there should be a nationwide abortion ban.“
The DCCC is right, and now that Lauf has won the primary and is the decided underdog against Congressman Foster in the fall, Lauf will need to be more forthcoming not only on right-to-life, but other issues as she launches her fall campaign to convince voters Congressman Foster needs to be retired, and she is the right person to replace him.
For reference, here is Lauf’s campaign’s stance on right-to-life during the primary campaign:
While Lauf states some policy points, Lauf is vague on a natiowide abortion ban, or if she would support one as a member of the U.S. House as part of a Republican majority.
Since the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs, Lauf was silent on social media concerning abortion, though she talked about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the New York state 2nd Amendment case which came down the same week as the Dobbs decision.
Additionally, Lauf has been silent on all of her campaign’s social media platforms on Foster’s two votes on Friday.
It’s been nearly 3 weeks since Lauf won the IL-11 Republican primary, so she should be closer to launching her general election campaign then she was on June 28, which should include more refined policy positions she’ll try to convince 11th Congressional District voters why a change is needed from Congressman Foster in the new IL-11.
While most mainstream general election voters who didn’t vote in either party’s primary aren’t paying attention to national politics at the moment, they will be soon. By August 29, which is one month before early voting begins for the November 8 election, Lauf needs to be very clear where she stands on a national abortion ban, or if she would oppose a nationwide ban and let the states decide, as ruled under the Dobbs decision.
The nationwide abortion ban, and Foster’s repeated votes in favor of abortion-on-demand, will come up at all general election media interviews and candidates forums, some will be broadcast live, or livestreamed.
Lauf just saying she’s a “Pro-Life Conservative” is not enough for a general election audience, and the electorate will be discerning, not only on Lauf, but also on Foster and his record supporting abortion-on-demand in spite of his half-truth he’s spinning with his Friday press release.