Democrats lost a key test vote on one of the most pro-abortion bills ever discussed in the US Senate with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin joining every Republican to kill it.
The 49-51 failed vote was unable to stop a GOP filibuster on the Women’s Health Protection Act was more about political theater than trying to pass the bill since it fell way short of the 60 votes needed.
While labeled as just codifying Roe v Wade, it went much further than that court decision. It would allow for abortion up to birth and prevent states from restricting abortion.
Since Manchin opposed the legislation, Democrats were not able to use the ‘nuclear option’ to only need a simple majority of votes, which is the only conceivable way for any abortion legislation to get passed in the Senate.
Before the vote, Manchin made it clear he would support a narrower bill to codify existing Supreme Court jurisprudence on abortion, arguing that the Democrats’ proposal goes too far.
“Make no mistake. It is not Roe v. Wade codification. It’s an expansion,” Manchin said according to the Daily Mail. “It expands abortion. … We should not be dividing this country further than we’re already divided.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called out Democrats on the abortion bill by labeling it as “extreme’ and “radical”.
“Our Democrat colleagues want to vote for abortion on demand through all nine months, until the moment before the baby is born — a failed show vote that will only prove their own extremism,” McConnell said in a floor speech.
While Manchin voted against the bill, the other Pro-life Democrat Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania who previously said he was against the bill decide to vote for it.
As recently as February, Casey was opposed to the bill. But in a statement Tuesday, he said that “the circumstances around the entire debate on abortion have changed.”
“In light of the leaked Supreme Court decision draft overturning Roe v. Wade, and subsequent reports that Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate will introduce legislation to enact a nationwide six-week ban, the real question of the moment is: Do you support a categorical ban on abortion?” Casey said to NBC News. “During my time in public office, I have never voted for — nor do I support — such a ban.”
The two pro-choice Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against the bill.