On the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, pro-life supporters celebrated a victory rather than a loss.
Republicans fought for restrictions on the federal abortion law and succeeded, pushing the bill through the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. The bill halts federal funding for abortion and follows an abruptly abandoned bill that would’ve made most abortions illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The previous bill was discarded Wednesday due to a rift in the party when a group of women argued it did not accommodate rape victims.
“At the last minute, they actually switched one extreme anti-abortion bill to another because their real goal is to ban abortion altogether,” said Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. “We really think these attacks are dangerous, extreme and unpopular.”
The bill passed as demonstrators paraded through Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life protest against Roe v. Wade.
Madison Zerkowski, who previously attended March for Life, said there shouldn’t have been federal funding for abortion in the first place because it’s an issue that a good portion of taxpayers disagree with.
“Most people’s disagreement with the whole pro-life movement is that it’s a woman’s choice,” the 19-year-old UF business sophomore said. “In my opinion, the baby from day one has his or her own separate DNA from the mother. At no point is it the same body. It’s not her right to choose because it’s not her body.”
But Jordan Donohue, a UF English sophomore, said she believes America is regressing to the 1950s.
“It’s completely ridiculous that in 2015 something like that would even be on the table,” the 19-year-old said.
In a statement from the White House, senior advisers stated they recommend that Obama veto the bill if it were to reach him. The statement read, “The Administration strongly opposes legislation that unnecessarily restricts women’s reproductive freedoms and consumers’ private insurance options.”
A veto, however, can be overridden with a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.
“Abortion should be OK but not as easy as walking into a clinic and being able to do it,” said 20-year-old UF biochemistry junior Ferzan Uddin.
Katie Wallace, 19, finds the timing of the bill disrespectful.
“It shouldn’t be men deciding women’s healthcare,” the UF anthropology sophomore said.
There are currently 84 women in the House out of 435 members, according to the House website.
Florida also tightened its grip on abortion restrictions this summer, when Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill making abortion illegal if a doctor says the fetus can survive outside the womb. Two existing exceptions are if the abortion is medically necessary to save the woman’s life or to avert a serious bodily impairment.
“If you’re young, and don’t agree with it,” said Donohue, “you should go out and vote.”
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 1/23/2015 under the headline “Anniversary of Roe v. Wade brings controversy over new bill"]