Senate blocks abortion rights bill Roe v. Wade

Democrat Joe Manchin joined Republicans in blocking a bill Wednesday that would make the abortion rights ruling law in Roe v. Wade, dealing a setback for Democrats fighting to preserve protections the Supreme Court could soon throw away after nearly five decades.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer went ahead with a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022, even though he knew he was doomed to stagnate. The New York Democrat aimed to put on record the position of all senators after a draft court opinion that would overturn Roe leaked, inflaming the national debate over abortion rights and energizing Democrats to November midterm elections.

The House blocked the bill in a 51-49 vote. Underscoring the measure’s importance, Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the vote.

All Republicans in the Senate, which is split 50-50 between the GOP and Democrats, voted against advancing the bill on Wednesday, leaving it short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and allow it to pass. take a vote. Manchin of West Virginia also opposed the measure.

“Tens of millions of women are watching what will happen to the rights they have relied on for decades, and all of us will have to answer for this vote for the rest of our time in office,” Schumer said Wednesday on the Senate floor. floor before the vote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., flanked from left by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y., holds a news conference Thursday, Aug. May 2022 to announce the Senate will vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022.

bill clark | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | fake images

The bill would prohibit states from prohibiting abortion before fetal viability, generally considered 24 weeks, and in certain cases after that point, when a medical provider determines that a pregnancy poses a risk to a person’s health. It would also prevent states from taking steps to limit access to certain abortion drugs and services, and prohibit governments from requiring unnecessary medical visits.

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Democrats appear to have no way to pass the bill, or a similar measure to cement federal abortion rights, unless they remove the filibuster in favor of the legislation. Doing so would require just 51 votes to pass bills. At least two Democratic senators, Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have signaled they will not vote to get rid of filibuster.

For now, any push by Democrats to pass legislation appears to be designed to generate enthusiasm among voters who support abortion rights. Schumer does not have any Republican support for the legislation, not even from Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who are considered the two GOP senators most likely to vote to protect abortion rights.

In a statement Wednesday, Collins said he believes the bill would do more than codify the protections established by Roe. He added that after the vote failed, “I would continue to work with my colleagues on legislation to maintain, not expand or restrict, the current legal framework for abortion rights in this country.”

Murkowski expressed similar concerns in his own statement, saying “Congress should codify important protections for Roe Y [the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v.] Casey in law as they currently exist.

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Democrats have asked midterm voters to choose candidates who will vote to enshrine the Roe v. Wade in federal law, as they risk losing their narrow majority in the November election. In a statement after Wednesday’s vote, President Joe Biden said Republicans “have chosen to stand in the way of the rights of Americans to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives.”

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“To protect the right to choose, voters must elect more pro-choice senators this November and return a pro-choice majority to the House,” he said. “If they do, Congress can pass this bill in January and put it on my desk, so I can sign it into law.”

Democrats sounded the alarm after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told USA Today that a A nationwide abortion ban was “possible” if the court overturned Roe. Since the court’s decision would leave abortion laws in the hands of the states, Congress would have to act to ban it at the federal level.

Republicans are unlikely to be able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and ban abortion in the US even if they win control of the Senate in November. McConnell also told USA Today that he would not push to circumvent filibuster “on any issue.”

McConnell downplayed on Tuesday the chances his party would try to ban abortion nationwide.

“I think it’s safe to say there’s not 60 votes at the federal level, no matter who the majority is, no matter who’s in the White House,” he told reporters. “So I think the general feeling from my conference is that this issue is going to be dealt with at the state level.”

Most Americans don’t want the court to reconsider Roe in the first place, a poll published on Wednesday found. More than half, or 57%, of adults say the Supreme Court should let the decision rest, compared with 36% who say the high court should review it, according to the Monmouth University survey of 807 people.

The vast majority of those surveyed oppose federal restrictions on abortion. If the court strikes down Roe, 44% of people want Congress to pass a law allowing abortions nationwide, while another 43% would like the laws left to the states, the poll found. Only 9% of those surveyed said they want lawmakers to pass a nationwide ban.

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The prospect of Republicans banning abortion nationwide strengthened the resolve of one Senate Democrat, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who supported some restrictive abortion laws during his Senate tenure.

His father, the late Democratic former Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey, backed the state’s restrictions on abortion that made him a defendant in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 Supreme Court case that further cemented abortion rights after Roe.

The younger Casey is one of the most conservative Democrats on abortion rights, having previously backed a ban on terminations after 20 weeks. She voted earlier this year to start debate on the Women’s Health Protection Act, but at the time she did not commit to supporting the bill itself.

Casey voted Wednesday to promote abortion rights legislation after saying Tuesday that he would support codification of Roe if the measure reached a final vote. He noted Tuesday that “the circumstances around the entire abortion debate have changed” since the Senate last considered an abortion rights bill, citing the threat of an “outright abortion ban” if the Republican Party takes power after Roe is repealed.

Sen. Patty Murray, the No. 3 House Democrat and chairwoman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said before the vote that a wave of statewide abortion bans would reverberate across the country, as people they may be forced to cross more than one state line to seek proceedings. The Washington Democrat said a court decision to overturn Roe “limits a woman’s entire economic future” and “takes away her ability to determine the direction of her own life.”

Murray warned that women “are not going to forget” Wednesday’s vote.

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