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Senate Republicans block bill that would protect abortion access nationwide

The Senate failed to advance a Democratic-led bill that would protect abortion access nationwide in a vote on Wednesday. The Women’s Health Protection Act was triggered by a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that indicates Roe v. Wade is likely to be overturned.  The leaked Supreme Court draft opinion may not be the final ruling, and it would have no force of law until it was issued. But it has been widely expected that the court would overturn Roe v. Wade and the subsequent ‘Planned Parenthood v. Casey’ decision, which upheld a constitutional right to abortion.

The bill passed the House with 49 votes, but fell short of the 60 senators needed to break a filibuster. All 50 Republicans and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin voted against proceeding to debate with a vote of 49-51.  Biden said in a statement after the vote:  “Republicans in Congress — not one of whom voted for this bill — have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives. To protect the right to choose, voters need to elect more pro-choice senators this November, and return a pro-choice majority to the House. If they do, Congress can pass this bill in January, and put it on my desk, so I can sign it into law.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said it was “one of the most consequential” votes the Senate has held in decades, adding in a floor speech, “for MAGA Republicans, this has always been about making abortion illegal everywhere.”  After the vote, Schumer said Democrats are “going to continue to highlight this issue relentlessly and strongly between now and November because it is so important.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the bill “extreme” and “radical” and added in a floor speech:  “Our Democrat colleagues want to vote for abortion on demand through all nine months, until the moment before the baby is born — a failed show vote that will only prove their own extremism.”

Editorial credit: Ron Adar / Shutterstock.com

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