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Lawmakers push for a bill to make abortions federally protected

WGCL Atlanta logo WGCL Atlanta 10/8/2021
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ATLANTA (CBS6) -- Nikema Williams is a ten- year abortion advocate who worked for Planned Parenthood in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. Perhaps now, better known as the member of the US Congress representing John Lewis' Atlanta district.

Rep. Williams is watching restrictive abortion laws in Georgia and Texas rise through federal courts.

A Mississippi law will begin a Supreme Court review in eight weeks, with an opinion expected six months later in June or July, 2022.

If the nine justices' decision alters the protections of Roe v Wade, for 50 years the ruling legalizing most abortions, Rep. Williams is ready for a bigger fight.

She's pushing women to tell their US Senators their own reproductive stories. The US House passed a bill Sept. 24, giving federal protection to many abortion decisions.

"We need the US Senate to do the same thing, to make sure no matter what happens in the Supreme Court decision in the Mississippi case, women will still have protections under the law."

Georgia's Right to Life supporters are doubtful the House passed bill will make it to the Senate.

Joshua Edmonds with the Georgia Life Alliance called the house bill "the most progressive expansion of abortion rights in us history."

Fifty years of abortion rights have done little to change American minds. Remarkably consistent polling over the decades shows about 60 percent of American adults support some abortion rights. 40 percent oppose any abortions at all.

Public Opinion on Abortion | Pew Research Center

Views on abortion, 1995-2021. While public support for legal abortion has fluctuated some in two decades of polling, it has remained relatively stable over the past five years. Currently, 59% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 39% say it should be illegal in all or most cases.

Sixty percent support by adults does not translate into a similar 60% of the US Senate. That is what is required to pass a federal law protecting abortion. Lack of support from Republicans and some moderate Democrats are keeping abortion opponents optimistic.

Joshua Edmonds said "We don't think there is a lot of traction for this bill in the US Senate. This federal legislation they are talking about repeals protections that exist for taxpayer funding, repeal ability for states to have a compelling interest to protect the life of the child."

Rep. Williams believes the senators who may not yet support the house bill need to hear from the women in their states.

"Sally what we know is that one in four women of reproductive age have had an abortion. And that means people that these Senators serve. They need to hear from you, their personal stories."

The arguments that could alter the nation's uneasy agreement on Roe v. Wade begin in the chambers of the US Supreme Court December 1, 2021.

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