Senate Republicans Block Democratic Bill That Codifies Roe v. Wade Abortion Protections

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation pushed by Democrats to revive protections under Roe v. Wade, after the Supreme Court struck down the nationwide right to abortion.

The vote was 49-44, which was not the supermajority needed to avoid a filibuster. Republicans strongly opposed it, dismissing it as a political stunt.

The Reproductive Freedom for Women Act, introduced last month on the second anniversary of the court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade , is just a few sentences long. The bill states that “protections for access to abortion rights and other reproductive health care” “must be sustained” after the 2022 ruling. The bill adds that “the protections enshrined in Roe vs. Wade… must be restored and rebuilt, towards a future in which there is reproductive freedom for all.”

It is part of a series of reproductive rights bills that Senate Democrats, who hold the 51-49 majority, have forced a vote on ahead of the 2024 elections.

“Will Republicans join the majority of Americans, the mainstream, and stand up to Donald Trump by affirming a woman’s fundamental right to choose?” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said before the vote.

“Of course, many Republicans would rather sweep reproductive health under the rug and say it’s political, but this is not political,” he said. “This is the essence of what elected government looks like. We all know these issues are very personal to so many people. And Americans should be able to see how their senators vote.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, were the only Republicans to vote in favor of the measure. Schumer ultimately changed his vote to “no” on procedural grounds, preserving his option to bring the bill up again in the future.

Senate Democrats have tried to trap Republicans between the wishes of their conservative base and those of the majority of the U.S., as evidenced by recent votes on support for legal access to abortion, contraception and IVF.

“We call this the summer of the Schumer election,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., calling the measure symbolic and saying before the vote that it had “no chance of ever becoming law” and that it was intended as a political messaging tool for Democratic candidates.

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