Democrats’ Abortion Bill Shot Down By Senate

Democrats' Abortion Bill Shot Down By Senate

( – Passing legislation through the Senate has been challenging due to the 50/50 split between Democrats and Republicans. As Democrats attempted to push an abortion rights bill through the upper house, they needed every member’s vote, but one senator crossed party lines to shoot down the bill, leaving the future of abortion legislation mainly in the hands of the US Supreme Court.

The Bill

Senators blocked HR 3755 or the Women’s Health Protection Act with a 46-48 vote on February 28, mostly along party lines. There was one notable exception. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who also ended the Build Back Better legislation, voted no with Republicans.

The legislation, which passed in the Democrat-controlled House on mostly party lines, is the first of its kind to attempt to codify legalizing abortion. It would stop restrictions on the procedure before viability or after if carrying the pregnancy to term risks the mother’s life. The bill would also protect providers from liability.

Motivation for the Bill

The legislation originated to fight state laws banning abortions. In Texas, abortion is illegal at six weeks, and the law allows for civil lawsuits against anyone providing or assisting with the procedure. In Mississippi, abortion is unlawful starting at 15 weeks. Florida, West Virginia, Arizona, Idaho, and Oklahoma have proposed similar bills recently.

Those in favor of the legislation view it as a way for Congress to correct what’s sure to be an erroneous judgment by the Supreme Court as they decide a case about the strict abortion law in Mississippi. The Court’s decision comes amid the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortions before about 24 weeks gestation. The High Court’s ruling likely won’t come down until June.

Center for Reproductive Rights chief executive and president Nancy Northup agreed with Schumer, saying the bill is a way for Congress to do what the Supreme Court likely will not and protect the right to choose abortion.

Opposition to the Bill

All Republican Senators and Senator Manchin voted against the legislation. Even GOP members who typically support abortion rights were not in favor. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) feel it oversteps religious rights by limiting religious objections of those performing the procedure.

The same senators introduced their own legislation that would follow the current goals of HR 3755 to make abortion legal at the federal level but allow providers the right to object on religious grounds. However, a report from The Wall Street Journal states that this isn’t likely this will go anywhere.

In general, Republicans and Democrats aren’t even close regarding their views on abortion. The parties are at opposite ends of the spectrum, with many on the Left wanting no restrictions on the procedure, while many members of the GOP seek to outlaw it altogether.

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