The US Senate has failed to pass a Democratic-led bill that would protect access to abortions nationwide, ahead of the Supreme Court’s final Roe v Wade decision.
On a 51-49 vote on Wednesday, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to codify abortion rights. All 50 Republicans opposed the bill and were joined by one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin.
The Women’s Health Protection Act, which passed the House, was expected to fail in the Senate given the 50-50 Republican-Democrat split in the upper chamber.
However, the bill presented an opportunity for Democrats to show support for abortion rights – and even Vice President Kamala Harris appeared to preside over the vote.
Moments ahead of the vote, female members of the House Progressive Caucus marched to the Senate chamber chanting, ‘My body, my decision’.
Earlier on Wednesday, Manchin confirmed, ‘I will not vote’ for the bill, saying its provisions go beyond writing Roe v Wade into law.
President Joe Biden slammed the GOP 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,’ Biden stated.
‘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 tried to file cloture to stop Republicans from filibustering the bill. Schumer knew he did not have the votes needed to make the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case federal law, but wanted to put anti-abortion lawmakers on the record with their opposition.
‘For the first time in 50 years, a conservative majority, an extreme majority on the Supreme Court is on the brink of declaring that women do not have freedom over their own bodies, one of the longest steps back in the court’s entire history,’ Schumer stated before the vote, and referenced ex-President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again allies.
‘For MAGA Republicans, this has always been about making abortion illegal everywhere.’
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