Why I Strongly Oppose the Republican Anti-Choice Bill

05/13/2015 05:59 pm ET | Updated May 13, 2016

Today I voted against H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The House Republican leadership is once again spending their time and energy trying to restrict women's right to safe and legal abortions instead of advancing policies that actually help hardworking Americans.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act doesn't protect women's health. It threatens it. That is why I join with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Women's Association, the American Nurses Association and many other organizations that believe that politicians should not intrude in decisions that should be left to women and their doctors.

Under this legislation, women whose lives are in danger would be prohibited from receiving a safe and legal abortion after 20 weeks -- even when their doctor determines it is medically necessary. Doctors could face up to five years in jail for acting to prevent serious and potentially lifelong harm to their patient.

In addition, the bill would enact senseless barriers for rape victims, making it even harder for them to get timely health care. A rape victim would be required to undergo multiple trips to different healthcare providers and be required to wait 48 hours before she could receive a safe and legal abortion. Incest victims under the age of 18 would have to notify law enforcement or a government agency before being able to obtain a safe and legal abortion.

This bill makes one thing clear: In this new Congress, the old Republican war on women continues. I strongly reject their efforts and stand with the many groups and individuals who are fighting against this misguided and harmful legislation.

In 1973, the Roe v. Wade decision concluded that women have a constitutionally protected right to safe and legal abortions. That landmark decision wasn't the beginning of women having abortions; it was the end of women dying from abortions. As a country we must go forward, empowering women's health rights and fighting against all attempts to restrict these extremely important rights.