In March, vote in the Senate on a failed abortion rights bill 46-48. This week, lawmakers are about to take the same vote and eventually achieve a similar result.
The new vote, however, comes nine days after a bombshell Politico report revealed that the Supreme Court may be on the verge of overturning roe deer v. Veal. Because of this report, Democrats see a vital need to vote on the issue again, pointing out where they – and the vulnerable Republicans – were ahead of the midterm.
“People in our country need to know where we stand on the issue of protecting a woman’s right to control her body. That’s all, ”Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) told Vox.
This week’s vote will be the second the law on the protection of women’s health (WHPA), which would ensure providers’ ability to perform an abortion and people’s right to access it. It is widely expected to fail, given the filibuster and internal divisions among Democrats over the right to abortion. while Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)who has long resisted abortion rights legislation, has announced that it will support the bill, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has not yet indicated where he is.
As it likely won’t pass, the vote is intended to rally the Democratic base while providing ammunition for Democrats to use against Republican challengers in the mid-term of 2022.
“The Republicans have made their position clear: they want to end abortion,” said Sara Spain, national press officer for defense group Emily’s List. “The WHPA vote is yet another reminder that Democrats are on the side of the voters and our rights while Republicans are on the other side.”
Already candidates in battlefield states like Wisconsin and New Hampshire have cited Republicans’ positions on abortion in election announcements. Democrats have also picked up on comments made recently by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell signaling the opening to a national ban on abortion, and used them as an example of why it is important for Democratic voters to show up in November. The Democrats also hope this vote will show voters that they are trying to pass protections on the issue.
“Republicans will have two choices. They can possess the destruction of women’s rights, or they can reverse course and work to prevent harm, ”Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech last week.
What would the bill do
The Women’s Health Protection Act would incorporate the right to access and perform an abortion into federal law and would replace state laws on the issue. It would effectively neutralize the laws in 19 states who have tried to severely curb access to abortion or to ban it altogether.
In particular, the act would ban six-week and 20-week bans on abortions. It would also ban policies, such as ultrasound requirements and waiting periods, that attempt to make it more costly to obtain an abortion. The text of the legislation makes it clear that this is a direct response to what the sponsors of the bill say are more than 500 state and local laws restricting access to abortion implemented in some way since 2011.
These restrictions have disproportionately harmed low-income people in particular Blacks and Hispanics – who are already less likely to have health coverage for abortions and who face greater obstacles in accessing alternative options if their states erect barriers.
While the WHPA would provide extensive protections against abortion, it would not replace abortion insurance coverage laws. There have been strict limits on Medicaid coverage for abortions due to the Hyde Amendment’s restrictions on the use of federal funding for such health care. Democrats were hoping to get rid of the rule, which typically hitchhikes on appropriation legislation, but failed to get the Republican votes they needed to do so.
Because the Democrats weren’t able to pass the bill
Democrats face two challenges when it comes to passing an abortion rights bill in Congress: the Senate’s filibuster and their own disagreements on the issue.
Due to legislative obstruction, most bills need 60 votes to pass, which means the Democrats would have to involve the entire caucus and 10 Republicans to join them. Even with Casey’s support – and even if Manchin votes yes – 10 GOP senators vote to protect the right to abortion won’t happen.
Another option would be to reverse the filibuster. They would need all 50 members on board to eliminate the filibuster on any bill, arguing that they currently have no problem since Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) opposed it. It’s an even longer shot with the right to abortion, as Democrats are not unified on the codification of legislation roe deer.
In the past, Manchin has voted against proceeding to a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, although he has not yet disclosed where he is now.
Theoretically, there is a third option: get a couple of pro-abortion Republican senators to join 48 or 49 Democratic senators to overturn the filibuster and then pass a coding law. roe deer. Two republicans – the sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – are in favor of the right to abortion, but disagree with the Women’s Health Protection Act, arguing that it is too expansive and noting that it replaces some laws that support.
They have proposed an alternative bill that seeks to codify the protections offered by roe deer Other Planned parenting v. Casey. Their bill would ensure that states cannot impose an undue burden on people seeking an abortion, although it would give states more freedom to impose their own limits.
Although Collins and Murkowski’s support wouldn’t get 60 votes, there was pressure on Schumer consider that bill to make the vote bipartisan. (Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) also said he is working with both senators on another possible version of the bill.)
Schumer, however, opted for focus on the Democrats version and argued that lawmakers should not compromise on the issue. Strategically, the WHPA vote will allow Democrats to say that all Republicans in the Senate voted against abortion protections, helping them highlight broad Republican opposition on the issue during the midterm.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the sponsor of the Democrats bill, also says Collins and Murkowski’s bill is short. “The other bill offers no protection,” he told Vox. “It allows states to impose bans by exploiting the loopholes and loopholes of that law.”
This vote is about messaging for the midterm
Due to the obstacles they face in Congress, Democrats look to midterms as their primary asset to protect their majority and take action across the board.
Candidates have already begun to focus on abortion rights in major Senate contests like New Hampshire, Nevada, and Wisconsin, hoping to rally voters as polls have repeatedly shown that most Americans support roe deer v. veal. This doomed vote, ultimately, is meant to motivate Democratic voters and reach potential swinging voters who think Republicans’ approach to the issue is too extreme.
In this cycle, Senate Democrats are defending four incumbents in swing states: Sens. Mark Kelly (AZ), Raphael Warnock (GA), Maggie Hassan (NH) and Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), while Republicans are defending the seats of incumbent Sens. Ron Johnson (WI) and Marco Rubio (FL), as well with open seats in Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
In these races, abortion is becoming a sticking point. “Republican men – and yes, they are all men – who run against me are all pursuing an extreme and anti-choice agenda”, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) tweeted last week. Cortez Masto also called his opponent, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, “an automatic vote for legislation that punishes women who try to have abortions,” if he was elected. Other Democratic candidate from Wisconsin Sarah Godlewski stressed Johnson’s past support for the state abortion ban, which would be reinstated if roe deer Self.
“Voters will not forget how Republicans opposed to the choice of the Senate such as Ron Johnson and Marco Rubio have contributed to this crisis – or who refuse to defend the freedom of their constituents to make their own decisions about their families and the future,” says NARAL Pro-Choice America’s director of communications, Ally Boguhn.
ace Axios reported Republican candidates in fluctuating states including Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Florida, and Ohio have expressed strong support for abortion bans with limited exceptions.
Democrats tied these candidates to McConnell’s comments about passing a national abortion ban if Republicans also had control of both houses of Congress. They see this week’s vote as an addition to the argument they are making about the differences between the two parties on the issue and the importance of electing even more Democrats to the Senate.