Senate Republicans block vote to ensure nationwide abortion access

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has joined all Republicans in opposing a bill that would effectively codify abortion rights in the United States.

The Women’s Health Protection Act, a Democratic-led bill that would codify abortion rights, did not pass because it failed to meet the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. (C-SPAN screenshot)

“Do you trust the patients? Do you trust doctors? Do you believe that every American should be able to make deeply personal decisions about parenthood without government interference? Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked her colleagues ahead of Wednesday’s vote on the Women’s Health Protection Acta federal law that would codify Roe vs. Wade into law and establish the legal right to abortion in all 50 states. “If your answer is yes, then your vote should be on that as well.”

Ultimately, the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) failed to secure the 60-vote threshold needed to go upstairs for a vote. All Senate Republicans, joined by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), prevented the Senate closingwhich would have forced a vote.

Present for the vote was Vice President Kamala Harris, who spoke forcefully on behalf of abortion rights. “Women in nearly half the country could see their access to abortion severely limited,” Harris said in a speech last week at a gala hosted by EMILY’s List. “These Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women, well we say, ‘How dare they! How dare they tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body. How dare they!'”

One possible avenue to pass the WHPA would be to approve a filibuster stay — either for all laws or just this abortion-related bill — that would only require 50 votes. But without all Democrats in favor, the chamber did not have a simple majority vote (50 plus Harris’s deciding vote) needed to effect the procedural change. the two Democrats opposed to a filibuster exclusion for abortion are Meaning. Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) and Manchin, and all Senate Republicans.

The WHPA was reintroduced in several sessions of Congress, but this iteration of the bill saw the most original co-sponsors ever. The US House of Representatives made history in September last year when it became the first US legislative body to pass the bill, albeit narrowly, in a 218-211 vote— just three weeks after the state of Texas passed the most extreme abortion ban in U.S. history at the time. All House Republicans and Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas voted against. (Cuellar now faces a primary Democratic challenger: Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old progressive immigration lawyer running on a platform supportive of reproductive rights. Cisneros and Cuellar will go to a second round of elections on May 24after neither gets more than 50% needed to win outright.)

This is not the WHPA’s first appearance in the Senate. On Monday, February 28, the WHPA failed to pass the Senate for the first time; Senate Republicans, again joined by Manchin, blocked the bill.

“We need our elected members of Congress to do better,” said Dr. Jamila Perritt, president and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health, after Wednesday’s vote. “This is not a future theoretical problem; we are in crisis right now.

When the bill was initially announced to pass, Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) told his colleagues last week that the bill boiled down to one question: “The women of this country have a fundamental right to make their own choices about seeking an abortion, yes or no?” In addition to guaranteeing the right to an abortion, the WHPA would also guarantee the ability of abortion providers to perform the procedure.

In a rare event, Vice President Kamala Harris presided over Wednesday’s WHPA vote, which was 49-51. (C-SPAN screenshot)

Sixty percent of Americans think the Supreme Court should uphold its 1973 decision by Roe vs. Wadewhich established the constitutional right to abortion, according to a November Washington Post-ABC News poll; only 27% think it should be cancelled. Asked specifically about the Texas law, which bans abortions six weeks after menstruation and is enforced by private vigilantes, an even higher percentage — 65% — think the Supreme Court should strike down the law. Seventy-five percent of Americans believe that the decision whether or not to have an abortion “should be left to the woman and her doctor.”

The possibility of the bill passing on Wednesday was a long shot, but Schumer’s decision to call another WHPA vote was strategic, as it asked senators to formally state their position on abortion access. , giving Democrats a way to attack Republicans ahead of the midterms. Schumer said of the vote, “Every American is going to see where every senator stands.”

May 14 rallies across the United States

Saturday May 14 will see massive protests across the country in support of abortion rights. Go here to find or organize a walk near you.

Sign and share Mrs. relaunched the “We had abortions” petition– whether you have had an abortion yourself or simply stand in solidarity with those who have – to let the Supreme Court, Congress and the White House know: we will not abandon the right to a safe abortion, legal and accessible.