NATIONAL NEWS

Key vote to protect access to abortion fails in the Senate

May 11, 2022, 3:16 PM
The exterior of the U.S. Capitol is seen during a rare Saturday session on August 7, 2021 in Washin...
The exterior of the U.S. Capitol is seen during a rare Saturday session on August 7, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate will vote on amendments for the legislative text of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of August recess. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON D.C. (CNN) — A key vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, a Democrat-led bill aimed at preserving access to abortion nationwide, failed in the Senate on Wednesday.

The vote comes as the US Supreme Court may be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, as indicated by a leaked draft opinion.

The final tally was 49 to 51 with moderate Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, joining with Republicans to vote against the measure and stop it from advancing.

The bill’s failure to advance was expected amid GOP resistance. But the outcome of the vote nevertheless underscores how Democrats are severely limited in what they can achieve with their narrow Senate majority.

At the same time, the party faces enormous pressure to take action on abortion rights amid fears that Roe v. Wade will soon be struck down. Holding the vote provided an opportunity for Democrats to spotlight the issue and criticize Republican resistance to passage of the legislation.

President Joe Biden lashed out at Senate Republicans after the failed Senate vote.

“Once again — as fundamental rights are at risk at the Supreme Court — Senate Republicans have blocked passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that affirmatively protects access to reproductive health care,” Biden said in a statement. “This failure to act comes at a time when women’s constitutional rights are under unprecedented attack — and it runs counter to the will of the majority of American people.”

But the vote also highlighted division over the contentious issue among Democrats. Manchin told CNN ahead of Wednesday’s vote he would be a “no” on the Democratic bill, arguing it’s too broad. He indicated he would support a codification of Roe v. Wade, but said this bill goes too far. The moderate Democrat, who represents the red state of West Virginia and has previously described himself as “pro-life and proud of it,” also voted with Republicans in opposition to the bill when it came before the Senate in February.

The Senate took up a version of the Women’s Health Protection Act sponsored by Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. The bill would codify the right to access abortion into federal law and guarantee the right of health care providers to perform abortion services. A House-passed version of the bill failed to advance in the Senate earlier this year amid GOP opposition.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the vote one of the “most important” senators will take, “not only this session, but in this century.”

“This is not an abstract exercise, it’s as real and as urgent as it gets,” Schumer said at a news conference on Friday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats for forcing the vote, arguing that “it would attack Americans’ conscience rights and religious freedoms.”

“It would overturn modest and overwhelmingly popular safeguards like waiting periods, informed consent laws and possibly even parental notification,” McConnell said of Democrats’ bill in remarks on the Senate floor on Monday.

Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, rare Republican abortion-rights supporters, have introduced their own legislation to codify the rights established by Roe into federal law.

Both voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act in February and voted against it again during Wednesday’s vote. Collins criticized the Democratic bill in a statement ahead of the vote. The Maine Republican said the bill “explicitly invalidates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in connection with abortion and supersedes other longstanding, bipartisan conscience laws.”

Asked at a news conference on Friday why he won’t instead bring the Collins and Murkowski bill to the floor, which could receive bipartisan support, Schumer said, “We are not looking to compromise something as vital as this.”

Earlier this week, more than a dozen abortion rights groups wrote a letter strongly opposing Murkowski and Collins’ bill, arguing it “would not protect the right to abortion if Roe v. Wade is overruled.”

Democrats have sounded the alarm and reacted with outrage in response to a recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealing plans to strike down Roe v. Wade after roughly five decades.

Republicans, despite many opposing abortion rights, have focused their response instead on the bombshell leak of the Supreme Court opinion, arguing that the leak itself represents a significant threat to judicial independence and freedom from outside interference.

While the Senate vote on Wednesday had been expected to fail, many Democrats still argued that the political landscape has shifted now that it has become evident Roe v. Wade may soon be struck down and that it is imperative to put lawmakers on the record over the issue.

“I do think that the vote is necessary,” Rep. Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat, said. “There has been time since (the bill) failed in the Senate the last time for people to have more conversations, more outreach. And then when this news of the leak, the draft opinion, when that became public, for a lot of work, a lot of conversations, a lot of advocacy groups reaching out, a lot more information stirring in people’s communities to open up a conversation where people could have a mind change.”

Prior to the vote starting, about two dozen House progressive members came over from the House side and were chanting “my body, my decision” near Schumer’s office. The chants were audible from in the chamber.

This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

FILE: Rep. Madison Cawthorn speaks before a rally for former U.S. President Donald Trump at The Far...
FARNOUSH AMIRI, Associated Press

Ethics panel opens investigation into GOP’s Madison Cawthorn

The House Ethics Committee is investigating allegations that Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn had a conflict of interest in a cryptocurrency and engaged in an improper relationship with a member of his staff.
15 hours ago
...
The Associated Press

Runner collapses, dies after Brooklyn half-marathon

A 30-year-old man collapsed and later died after crossing the finish line of a half-marathon in Brooklyn on Saturday morning.
15 hours ago
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 05:  Angela Lansbury attends the "Little Women" FYC Reception And Panel Discuss...
MARK KENNEDY AP Entertainment Writer

Actor Angela Lansbury to receive a special Tony Award

The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced Monday that the legendary actor will receive a 2022 special Tony for lifetime achievement in the theater.
15 hours ago
FILE (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)...
Associated Press

Man charged with threatening Oklahoma US Rep. Eisenberger

A man known for showing up uninvited at political events to get close to politicians has been charged with cyberstalking and threatening an Oklahoma congressman and his family.
15 hours ago
FILE: This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Pre...
MARIA CHENG AP Medical Writer

Expert says monkeypox likely spread by sex at raves in Europe

A leading World Health Organization adviser says the unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox in developed countries is "a random event" that might be explained by sexual behavior at two recent raves in Europe.
15 hours ago
FILE: (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)...
KATHLEEN RONAYNE, Associated Press

Californians could see mandatory water cuts amid drought

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he may impose mandatory water restrictions if people don't start using less as a drought drags on.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
Key vote to protect access to abortion fails in the Senate