Home Senate fails to advance legislation protecting women’s right to choose

Senate fails to advance legislation protecting women’s right to choose

roe v. wade abortion rights
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The question that we’ve needed to ask for months, if not years, smacked us in the face today again: what do Senate Democrats get out of having Joe Manchin in their caucus?

“It is not Roe v. Wade codification, it is an expansion. We should not be dividing this country further than we’re already divided,” Manchin, nominally D-W.Va., told reporters before voting against the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022, which failed to achieve the needed 60 votes to avoid a Republican filibuster.

It failed to meet that 60-vote threshold by nine votes, with Manchin joining all 50 Senate Republicans voting against the measure.

OK, so, this is on the back of Manchin, and then also Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden, who aren’t willing to blow up the filibuster, a mere Senate rule, out of fear of, not sure exactly what.

Two-thirds of Americans support abortion rights, which are now under threat from a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision that will overturn Roe v. Wade that was leaked last week.

The bill that was voted down today, authored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., would have abortion legal nationally, undermining the conservative justices’ effort to send the matter back to the states by preventing states from passing pre-viability abortion bans and preventing medically unnecessary restrictions to the procedure, like waiting periods or counseling requirements.

The gambit by Schumer, D-NY, was to get Republican senators on the record for their effective support of the judicial reversal on Roe v. Wade ahead of the 2022 midterms.

“Protecting the right to choose at this critical moment is one of the most consequential votes we could possibly take,” Schumer said before the vote today. “The public will not forget which side of the vote senators fall on today. They will not forget who voted to protect their freedoms. And they will not forget those responsible for the greatest backslide in individual liberties in half a century.”

You could say that it backfired with Manchin, predictably, being that guy.

Virginia’s two Senate Democrats, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, didn’t address Manchin directly in their post-vote comments, because Manchin is apparently bulletproof.

“I’m gravely concerned by the Senate’s failure to codify Roe,” Warner said. “For almost 50 years, women have had the right to make private medical decisions about their own reproductive health. If the Supreme Court does overturn Roe soon, women in many states will be stripped of their right to a safe abortion – including in cases of sexual assault, incest, or high-risk pregnancies. This is not what the majority of Virginians or Americans support, and it sets an extremely dangerous precedent for rolling back established rights. I’m extremely disappointed that the Senate chose inaction, but I’ll keep supporting measures to allow women to access the care they need.”

“I’m deeply disappointed by today’s vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, but we must keep fighting to make sure that women can exercise their constitutionally-protected reproductive rights,” Kaine said. “Today is the start, not the finish. We cannot stand idly by as the Supreme Court threatens to overturn decades of precedent to deny women the right to make their own health decisions. Congress must act.”

Story by Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].