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Senate to vote on Roe v. Wade abortion rights bill

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., flanked from left by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., holds a news conference on Thursday, May 5, 2022, to announce the Senate will vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022.

Bill Clark | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Senate Republicans on Wednesday are set to dam a bill that will make the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision law, as Democrats scramble to preserve protections that the Supreme Court could soon toss out after nearly five many years.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer forged ahead with the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022, whilst it appeared doomed to stall. After a draft court opinion that will overturn Roe leaked — inflaming the national abortion rights debate and energizing Democrats for November’s midterm elections — the Recent York Democrat aimed to place every senator’s stance on the record.

All Republicans within the Senate, which is split 50-50 between the GOP and Democrats, are expected to vote against advancing the bill Wednesday — leaving it wanting the 60 votes needed to beat a filibuster and permit a vote to proceed. One Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, opposed moving ahead with the same bill earlier this yr and has not yet revealed how he’ll vote Wednesday.

“Republicans who pretended disingenuously as if this moment couldn’t possibly occur may have to reply to the ladies of America whose rights are about to be turned back by many years,” Schumer said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “Tomorrow, there might be no more hiding. There might be no more distracting, no more obfuscating where every member on this chamber stands.”

The bill would bar states from banning abortion before fetal viability — generally considered 24 weeks — and in certain cases after that time when a medical provider determines a pregnancy poses a risk to an individual’s health. It might also stop states from taking steps to limit access to certain drugs and abortion services, and ban governments from requiring medically unnecessary doctor’s visits.

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Democrats appear to haven’t any path toward passing the bill, or the same measure to cement federal abortion rights, unless they scrap the filibuster for laws. Doing so would require only 51 votes to pass bills. Not less than two Democratic senators, Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have signaled they are going to not vote to do away with the filibuster.

For now, any push by Democrats to pass laws appears designed to muster enthusiasm amongst voters who support abortion rights. Schumer doesn’t have any Republican support for the laws — even from Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, considered the 2 GOP senators probably to vote to guard abortion rights.

“Nothing’s going to alter. The vote’s going to be the identical,” Murkowski said Monday, referencing her opposition to similar laws that Republicans and Manchin blocked earlier this yr.

Democrats have called on midterm voters to elect candidates who will vote to enshrine the Roe v. Wade decision into federal law as they risk losing their razor-thin majority in November’s elections. In an announcement after the draft decision leaked, President Joe Biden said, “we’ll need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority within the House to adopt laws that codifies Roe, which I’ll work to pass and sign into law.”

Democrats amplified their calls after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told USA Today that a nationwide abortion ban was “possible” if the court overturned Roe. Because the court’s decision would depart abortion laws as much as states, Congress would need to act to bar it on the federal level.

Republicans likely couldn’t garner the 60 votes needed to beat a filibuster and ban abortion within the U.S. even in the event that they won Senate control in November. McConnell also told USA Today that he wouldn’t push to bypass the filibuster “for any subject.”

McConnell on Tuesday downplayed the possibilities of his party attempting to bar abortion nationwide.

“I believe it’s secure to say there aren’t 60 votes there on the federal level, regardless of who happens to be in the bulk, regardless of who happens to be within the White House,” he told reporters. “So I believe the widespread sentiment of my conference is that this issue might be handled on the state level.”

Still, the prospect of Republicans barring abortion nationwide strengthened the resolve of 1 Senate Democrat, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who has supported some restrictive abortion laws during his Senate tenure.

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

The younger Casey is one of the crucial conservative Democrats on abortion rights, previously backing a ban on terminations performed after 20 weeks. He voted earlier this yr to begin debate on the Women’s Health Protection Act, but he didn’t commit on the time to supporting the bill itself.

Casey on Tuesday said he would vote to codify Roe, as “the circumstances around the complete debate on abortion have modified” because the Senate last considered abortion rights laws.

“In light of the leaked Supreme Court decision draft overturning Roe v. Wade, and subsequent reports that Republicans within the U.S. House and Senate will introduce laws to enact a nationwide six-week ban, the true query of the moment is: do you support a categorical ban on abortion?” Casey said in an announcement. “During my time in public office, I actually have never voted for — nor do I support — such a ban.”

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