The U.S. Senate will vote Wednesday on a national abortion rights bill – a process likely doomed to fail – after a leaked draft decision signaled the Supreme Court’s readiness to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade decision.
The prospects for success are virtually nil, given Republicans’ blocking power in an equally divided Senate of 100 seats where key legislation almost always faces a 60-vote threshold.
Codification of the right to abortion
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed that Democratic lawmakers will attempt to codify abortion rights into law Wednesday local time.
The vote follows a leaked draft Supreme Court ruling indicating that the nation’s highest legal body will move to overturn the historic Roe and Wade ruling, which currently defines abortion as a constitutional right.
But the vote will still put lawmakers on the record on one of the country’s most controversial issues, and Democrats hope the debate will spur voters to go to the polls in mid-term elections exactly six months from Sunday.
“We will vote on Wednesday and every American will see how every senator is doing. They can’t help it anymore, “Schumer said at a press conference in New York on Sunday.
“Now they have to show which side they are on.”
Republican-controlled states have taken steps to curtail abortion rights in recent months, as the overturning of Roe v Wade would give states the ability to enact their own abortion laws.
Congressional Democratic maxim Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, reiterated her indignation at the court’s imminent probable decision, tell CBS News Sunday that “the court slapped women in terms of disrespect for their judgments about the size and timing of their families.”
With Democrats lacking the necessary majority to push through the codification, the only other option would seem to be to change the Senate rules to lower the number of votes needed to pass such a bill.
But Republicans – and some senators from President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party – are opposed to such a move.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said “we will never give in” to Republican efforts to turn back abortion rights protections.
“We are half citizens according to this ruling,” he said CNN, referring to the draft opinion. “And if this is put into law, it changes the foundations of America.”
Several conservative states are already changing.
The southern state of Mississippi will ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening mother, Republican Governor Tate Reeves told NBC on Sunday.
But looking forward, “we need to show that being pro-life isn’t just about anti-abortion,” Reeves said, making sure future mothers and babies have the resources they need.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the Roe decision sowed divisions for decades because it “created a constitutional right that does not exist in the written constitution.”
Now, he said New Foxs, “Elected officials finally have a say in the life and conditions of abortion. I think that’s how it should be. “
According to a poll released Friday by the Pew Research Center, about 61 percent of Americans believe abortion should remain legal in all or most circumstances.
But, as with so many other social issues, the gap between Democrats and Republicans is wide and widening.
Eight out of 10 Democrats support the right to abortion in all or most cases, more than double the 38 percent of Republicans who do, Pew said.
© Agence France-Presse