Democrats in Disbelief as Women’s Health Protection Act Fails, Leaving Them Clueless and Lashing Out as SCOTUS is Set to Overturn Roe v Wade

The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), a Democrat-led bill that would ​effectively codify a right to an abortion, failed to pass, as expected, after it did not reach the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. All Democrats voted for the legislation except Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and all Republicans opposed the bill.

In only her 24th appearance since being in office, Kamala Harris presided over the vote, which was 49-51.  

Within minutes of the vote, President Joe Biden released a statement that “this failure to act comes at a time when women’s constitutional rights are under unprecedent attack, and it runs counter to the will of the majority of American people.”

“We will continue to defend women’s constitutional rights to make private reproductive choices as recognized in Roe v. Wade nearly half a century ago, and my administration will continue to explore the measures and tools at our disposal to do just that,” Biden said, without providing details.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last week the Senate would be voting on the bill after a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito revealed that the court is likely to overturn the 50-year-old protections of abortion rights granted under the 1973 Roe v. Wade case.

Because it was never likely to pass, the vote was effectively symbolic. “I think it’s really important to have this vote to show were everyone stands,” Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota told NPR before the vote last week.

The Democrats felt like the stakes had been raised over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comments over the weekend that Republicans might try to move legislatively on a nationwide abortion ban.

The draft opinion from the Supreme Court of the U.S. would not issue a national ban, but it would allow states to do so.

This meant the focus could now turn to efforts from more moderate Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who were drafting a narrower approach to the WHPA legislation. That bill would also aim to codify Roe in some form, but it has some restrictions that many Democrats didn’t support.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia said he’s having “productive discussions” with Collins about that legislation but he acknowledged that even that bill, should it come together, would not immediately have enough support to pass.

Kaine commented, “I’ve worked on things with Lisa and Susan before and negotiated and often find an answer that we can live with. So, I’m in that spirt. That’s the spirit of discussions.”

Republican Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, an obstetrician and gynecologist who has delivered thousands of babies, told Newsmax before the ballot, “Just think about the attack that this bill makes. This is an attack on our faith. It is an attack on Christianity. It is an attack on Christian doctors, Christian nurses, and Christian hospitals.”

Marshall added, “If the legislation would pass, it would mean the nation’s hospitals would also be tied up in courts for refusing to do abortions, and doctors and nurses would have to leave because they would not be able to refuse the procedures based on conscientious objections.”

Marshall then concluded, “This is absolutely an attack on our faith. I’m a ‘hell no’ on this bill. I don’t believe there will be 50 votes to pass the ‘extreme bill,’ let alone the 60 need it needs.” Turns out he was right.

While the WHPA failed to pass Wednesday, Democrats did manage to get support from Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey, who said on Tuesday he would vote in favor of the legislation.

Casey is one of the few anti-abortion Democrats in office. His father, Bob Casey Sr., was Governor of Pennsylvania during the 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, which upheld Roe but paved the way for abortion restrictions.

In a statement the younger Casey said, “The circumstances around abortion rights in the country have changed over the last few months. He cited the leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court and the possibility that Republicans might try to codify a national ban on abortions.”During my public office, I have never voted for, nor do I support, such a ban,” Casey said.

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