Abortion bill fails in US Senate as Supreme Court considers overturning Roe v. valley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday defeated legislation making abortion legal across the United States amid strong Republican opposition.

Democrats have sought to avoid an impending Supreme Court advisory opinion that is expected to overturn the Roe v. Wade resolution that established the national right to abortion. Wednesday’s effort was a protest gesture that had little chance of success.

With 49 votes in favour, 51 against, the Women’s Health Protection Act was less than 11 out of the 60 votes needed to debate fully in the 100-member Senate.

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All 50 Republicans voted to block the bill. They were joined by a Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin.

Before the vote, more than two dozen Democratic House members, most of them women, marched from the House of Representatives to the Senate chanting “My body, my decision.” Then they entered the Senate chamber and sat quietly along the back wall while the senators debated abortion rights.

Last September, the House voted 2,188 to 211 to pass an abortion rights bill nearly identical to the Senate bill.

Although the Senate’s defeat was widely expected, Democrats hope the vote will help propel more of their candidates to victory on November 3. 8 midterm elections, where public opinion polls show deep support among voters for abortion rights.

This, in turn, could bolster future attempts to legalize abortion through legislation.

America’s decades-old battle over abortion rights exploded anew last week when the Supreme Court confirmed the credibility of a draft opinion that indicated it would soon overturn Roe v. valley. Read more

Such a decision would leave it up to individual states to determine their own abortion policies.

The Supreme Court’s ruling is expected by the end of its current term, which usually ends in late June.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for sexual and reproductive health rights, at least 26 states are certain to ban or potentially prohibit abortion if the Supreme Court rules against Roe.

After the vote, Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters at the Capitol: “Unfortunately, the Senate has failed to defend a woman’s right to make decisions about her body…What we’re seeing across this country are radical Republican leaders seeking to criminalize and punish women for making decisions about their bodies.” “.

Republican Senator John Cornyn called the legislation a “radical abortion-on-demand bill” that goes far beyond Roe v. Wade and “essentially makes abortion available on demand from the time of conception to the time of delivery.”

Closed talks were held about a possible compromise of the abortion rights law, although it was unclear whether Democratic and Republican negotiators would be able to reach an agreement, let alone attract the 60 votes needed for any such action.

Opinion polls have shown that the right to an abortion is widely popular. A Reuters/Ipsos poll last week showed that 63% of respondents, including 78% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans, are likely to support candidates in the November elections who support abortion rights. Read more

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Additional reporting by Richard Cowan, David Morgan and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Scott Malone, Lisa Shoemaker and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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