GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation
Senate Republicans, joined by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), blocked legislation on Wednesday intended to enshrine abortion protections into law ahead of a possible ruling this summer by a conservative-majority Supreme Court striking down the Roe v. Wade decision.
Democrats fell more than 10 votes short of advancing the legislation, touted as a way to codify Roe v. Wade, which guarantees the right to an abortion, into law. It needed 60 votes to move forward.
The outcome, which was expected, is likely to ramp up emotions after a leaked draft decision last week showed the Supreme Court was ready to take the historic step of overturning its landmark 1973 decision on abortion rights.
Democrats have warned that decision would rip away what has been a right for millions of women for nearly half a century, with the negative effects disproportionately falling on the poor.
“Today’s vote is one of the most consequential we will take in decades, because for the first time in fifty 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; a decision if enacted will go down as one of the worst court decisions ever. The name of this decision will live in infamy,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Republicans argued the legislation considered by the Senate went further than most Americans would want to go on abortion rights, infringing on religious liberty and state laws.