A new bill proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, which would give doctors the right to refuse to perform an abortion in cases of “severe or irreversible” medical risk, has been dubbed “Newtonian” by its supporters.
The proposed amendment would also allow physicians to refuse the abortion of any person with an incurable disease or disability.
It has also been hailed as a first step toward allowing abortion in instances of rape, incest, and if the mother’s life is in danger.
But a spokesperson for the senator’s office says the amendment is a placeholder that is not a legislative proposal.
Whitehouse’s amendment would not create a federal right to abortion, but it would allow doctors to choose whether to perform the procedure on a woman’s behalf.
Currently, doctors are permitted to perform abortions only in cases that are “reasonably related” to the woman’s health and safety.
According to the American Medical Association, most states have a waiting period before they can begin performing an abortion, and in some cases a doctor must have performed the procedure in the past.
The bill would give physicians the right “to refuse to provide services or services for the woman if they believe that the pregnancy would result in the death of the mother, serious physical injury to the mother or a serious risk to the health or safety of the woman or her unborn child.”
It would also make doctors the sole decision-makers in the case of the abortion, if they choose to terminate a pregnancy.
According the Associated Press, Whitehouse’s proposed amendment is similar to laws passed in Indiana and North Carolina earlier this year that allow doctors the ability to refuse services to women who have already undergone a pregnancy termination.
“It is our goal to end abortion in this country, and to make it available to all women,” Whitehouse told The Associated Press.
“And I hope that it will be an option for people who would be in a similar situation.
If they would like to go forward with the procedure, we will have to make sure that they are medically qualified, but not if they would rather do it privately.
And that’s the bottom line.”
The White House has not provided details on how the proposed amendment could be applied to states that currently have waiting periods, including Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Georgia.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has not commented on the proposed measure, but said in a statement that the administration “will continue to fight for a woman and her right to choose.”
The bill was introduced by Whitehouse in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.
It has been sent to the full Senate for a vote, but has not yet received a vote.