- - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Few Democrats say things like, “the government is too big and intrusive, and we must cut red tape.” But several Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sounded like speakers at a Tea Party rally this week in defense of a bill to lift burdensome regulations from the abortion industry.

The committee is considering legislation titled the Women’s Health Protection Act, which sets out to invalidate any and all abortion restrictions at both the state and federal level.

This is an idea from partisans who think the state should not allow children to ride a bicycle or open a lemonade stand without applying for permits and securing licenses. The bill cites the Commerce Clause as the congressional authority to overrule state laws setting building codes for abortion providers, requiring waiting periods and ultrasounds for abortion seekers and mandating that abortionists qualify for hospital-admitting privileges.

The bill instructs judges to strike down any state law that is “reasonably likely to directly or indirectly increase the cost of providing abortion services.” This is the first and only time that liberals have called for a cost-benefit analysis of a regulation. When Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank legislation regulating Wall Street were enacted, nary a second’s thought was given to the cost of compliance.

So far, 35 Democratic senators have joined Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut to sponsor the measure. This would fulfill the fondest dreams of Planned Parenthood. Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, calls it the “most radical pro-abortion bill ever considered by Congress,” imposing an “extreme ideological doctrine that elective abortion must not be limited in any meaningful way, at any stage of pregnancy.”

Mr. Blumenthal’s bill is a companion to the equally extreme Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act, introduced last week by Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington state and Mark Udall of Colorado, which would override the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling and require employers with religious scruples against abortion to pay for them, anyway, under Obamacare.

The Blumenthal bill is likely to clear the Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote, since Democrats hold a majority on the panel, but it has almost no chance of becoming law. The House is resolutely pro-life, having voted 228 to 196 last year to bar the aborting of an unborn child after 20 weeks, the age at which the fetus is regarded as capable of feeling pain.

Mr. Blumenthal and his co-sponsors understand that their bill is a stunt to play to a dispirited liberal base ahead of the November elections. The party is doubling down on its election bet that it can win by painting Republicans as being “at war on women.”

It’s a long shot. Measured in its most recent survey, Gallup finds the nation split evenly on abortion. But only 28 percent of the voters support removing all restrictions to abortion. The Democratic strategy has nothing to do with “choice.” It seeks to force every state, every individual and every business to accept, embrace and fund abortion whether the people like it or not. That would be a hard sell in any November.

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