Home Medical profession US Senate Democrats fail to enshrine national abortion protections, promise more action Missouri Independent

US Senate Democrats fail to enshrine national abortion protections, promise more action Missouri Independent


WASHINGTON — Efforts to secure the nation’s abortion rights stalled for the second time Wednesday when U.S. Senate Democrats failed to secure enough votes to overcome the legislative filibuster.

Republicans, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, voted evenly against limiting debate on the bill while Democrats, with the exception of West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, voted to move the measure forward to final adoption.

The 49-51 procedural vote was the second time this year that Senate Democrats have attempted to advance a bill to codify abortion rights. But it was the first vote on abortion access since Politico released a leaked draft opinion from Associate Justice Samuel Alito showing the U.S. Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade in the next two months.

Democrats said during debate on the bill that codifying nationwide protections would continue to allow pregnant patients and their doctors to make that decision, while Republicans argued the Supreme Court was wrong. twice ruled that abortion access was a constitutional right, saying it was up to legislatures to decide.

“It’s a real irony in the Republican Party that in so many cases they portray themselves as proponents of limited government and here they want to be in the bedroom, in the doctor’s office, in the delivery room “said Democratic Wisconsin Senator Tammy. Baldwin said during an interview with States Newsroom on Wednesday.

“And, I think, the condescension towards women, who have to be the ones making these really, really important choices, is very apparent.”

The bill, sponsored by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, would have given health care providers the right to perform abortions and patients to terminate pregnancies without having to follow 11 different government restrictions.

Health care providers would not have been required to perform tests or procedures that were not medically necessary, or give patients medically inaccurate information before performing an abortion.

Governments could not have prohibited abortions before the threshold of viability, generally between 22 and 24 weeks after the start of a pregnancy, and post-viability abortions could not have been restricted when “in the medical judgment of good faith of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the life or health of the pregnant patient.

Health care providers could not be prevented from ordering a medical abortion as long as it was based on “current evidence-based regimens or the good faith medical judgment of the provider, other than a generally applicable limitation on the medical profession”.

Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley opposed the bill during the indoor debate, saying the measures were “radical” and that they “go far beyond his stated position of codifying the decision. Roe versus Wade”.

“Some states have shielded individuals from being required to perform abortions against their own religious beliefs. We cannot sit idly by as these common sense laws are attacked by Democrats. And this legislation attacks those laws,” Grassley said.

Democratic leaders said the vote was the first step in their effort to show Americans the difference between the two political parties on abortion access, though the second step remains somewhat murky.

Democrats have repeatedly called on Americans to contact their lawmakers and urged abortion-rights supporters to vote in November’s midterm elections.

But it is highly unlikely that Democrats will be able to pass an abortion bill in the near future, even if they win several seats after the election.

The US Senate’s process for advancing major legislation, known as legislative filibuster, requires at least 60 senators to vote to limit debate on a bill and move to final passage. The last time a political party held more than a supermajority of seats was in the 95th Congress from 1977 to 1979, when Democrats held 61 seats and an independent caucus with Democrats.

But Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska are seeking a bipartisan path.

Kaine said Wednesday he was having “productive discussions” with the two abortion-rights Republicans about legislation they might support that would also garner support from Democrats.

“I’ve worked on things with Lisa and Susan before and negotiated. And [we] often find an answer we can live with,” Kaine said. “That’s the spirit of the talks.”

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If they are able to reach agreement on a bipartisan bill to codify Roe v. Wade, Kaine said, he did not expect he would immediately have the necessary 60 Senate supporters.

But, he thinks the Supreme Court’s decision later this year could change the conversation from the “abstract” state it currently finds itself in, where some people think Republican-appointed justices could change their minds and not completely nullify the national right to abortion.

“There probably won’t be 60 votes at the door. But this is a situation that is truly a living controversy that is leading to discussions in every home and every community across the country,” Kaine said.

Murkowski said Wednesday that she voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 because she believed it went beyond codifying abortion rights as they currently exist in under Supreme Court precedent.

“What I’m looking forward to is an opportunity to really codify Roe vs. Wade, because now we have the law in place,” she said.

Manchin, the only Democrat to vote against the bill, said he wanted to codify Roe v. Wade, but thought the metric for a vote on Wednesday was too broad.

“I just want to make it a clean bill,” he said.

New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen told the United States Newsroom that she plans to continue talking about abortion rights with her constituents, “who are very concerned about the implications” of the end of the constitutional right to abortion.

Baldwin plans to do the same, noting Republicans’ position on abortion, including that women who have survived rape or incest be required to carry pregnancies to term, are “radical and extreme.”

Democrats will “highlight the implications this Supreme Court decision” would have on people across the country, she said.

“For example, in my case in Wisconsin, we were immediately reverting to a law passed in 1849. Things were different in 1849 than they are today,” Baldwin said. “They talk about going back half a century with Roe versus Wade, but in Wisconsin it’s over 170 years. And so I want to make sure they’re aware of that and relate to the people they’re voting for.