Senate Fails To Advance Bill To Debate Codifying Roe v. Wade

Above: Democratic women House members protest for abortion rights ahead of the Senate vote.

The Senate held a “show vote” today to put senators on the record about codifying the abortion rights recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (1973) in light of the leaked draft opinion of Justice Samuel Alito in the Mississippi abortion case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The Hill reports, Senate GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation:

Senate Republicans, joined by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), blocked legislation on Wednesday intended to enshrine abortion protections into law ahead of a possible ruling this summer by a conservative-majority Supreme Court striking down the Roe v. Wade decision.

Democrats fell more than 10 votes short [of the 60 required for cloture] of advancing the legislation [to debate], touted as a way to codify Roe v. Wade, which guarantees the right to an abortion, into law. It needed 60 votes [under the senate filibuster rule] to move forward.

That’s right boys and girls, the supposedly pro-choice Republicans, the mythical moderate from Maine, Susan Collins, and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who have sponsored their own bill to codify Roe v. Wade, the Reproductive Choice Act, which they could have offered as an amendment to the Women’s Health Protection Act (aready revised) if it has proceeded to debate, voted against proceeding to debate. They want credit for sponsoring a bill, but not actualy voting for one. “They were for it before they were against it.” Women’s rights advocates should stop falling for their bait and switch.

And Democratic Senators Bob Casey – the son of the Casey in Casey v. Planned Parenthood – and the Vichy Democrat Joe Manchin who have personal objections to abortion, diverged on their votes. Bob Casey voted to proceed to debate, only Joe Manchin voted to appease Republican obstructionism of women’s reproductive freedom – in addition to his support for the Jim Crow relic Senate filibuster rule which required 60 vote for cloture.

The outcome, which was expected, is likely to ramp up emotions after a leaked draft decision last week showed the Supreme Court was ready to take the historic step of overturning its landmark 1973 decision on abortion rights.

Democrats have warned that decision would rip away what has been a right for millions of women for nearly half a century, with the negative effects disproportionately falling on the poor.

“Today’s vote is one of the most consequential we will take in decades, because for the first time in 50 years a conservative majority — an extreme majority — on the Supreme Court is on the brink of declaring that women do not have freedom over their own bodies, one of the longest steps back in the court’s entire history; a decision if enacted will go down as one of the worst court decisions ever. The name of this decision will live in infamy,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

Republicans argued the legislation considered by the Senate went further than most Americans would want to go on abortion rights, infringing on religious liberty and state laws.

This “states rights” argument is bullshit. Republicans already plan to pass a universal federal abortion ban, overriding states with constitutional or legislative guarantees for access to abortion, if they retake control of Congress and the White House. Mitch McConnell warns of federal abortion ban:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that the GOP could pursue a federal ban on abortion if the right-wing Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and Republicans regain control of Congress in the fast-approaching midterm elections.

“If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies—not only at the state level but at the federal level—certainly could legislate in that area,” McConnell (R-Ky.) told USA Today in an interview late last week, days after the publication of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft ruling in a Mississippi abortion-ban case sparked nationwide outrage.

“If this were the final decision, that was the point that it should be resolved one way or another in the legislative process,” McConnell said of a federal abortion ban, which polling suggests would be broadly unpopular with the U.S. electorate. “So yeah, it’s possible.”

The religious liberty argument is nonsensical. Anyone with a religious objection to abortion is not being forced to obtain an abortion. Duh. But they do want to impose their religious dogma on every one else who does not share their religious dogma, or who have no religious faith, which amounts to establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment. Theocracy is on the ballot in November.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) told yet another Big Lie, something this pathological liar excels at:

“Our Democratic colleagues want to vote for abortion on demand through all nine months, until the moment before a baby is born. A failed show vote that will only prove their own extremism.”

Codifying Roe v. Wade means codifying the three trimester blancing test:

The Court ruled that this right is not absolute and must be balanced against governments’ interests in protecting women’s health and prenatal life. The Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the three trimesters of pregnancy: during the first trimester, governments could not prohibit abortions at all; during the second trimester, governments could require reasonable health regulations; during the third trimester, abortions could be prohibited entirely so long as the laws contained exceptions for cases when they were necessary to save the life or health of the mother.

See, no “abortion on demand” or late term abortions except to save the life of the mother. Mitch is full o’ shit, per usual.

Some Republican states now plan to eliminate that exception for saving the life of the mother, including in ectopic pregnancies where there is no viability for the fetus – and a death sentence for the mother. How “pro-life” is that?

Republican states have already eliminated exceptions for rape or incest, effectively forcing the victims of rape to carry to term their rapist’s baby, victimizing a woman a second time at the command of the state. In abortion fight, conservatives are pushing to end all exceptions: At least 22 states have laws banning abortion at the 15th week or earlier, many of them lacking exceptions for fetal viability, rape or incest, or even the health of the woman. Several of those bans would take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, as a leaked draft of the opinion suggests.

Democrats are hoping fury over the possibility of abortion rights being severely eroded will be a clarion call for their supporters in the midterm elections.

Schumer previewed the Democratic argument. “Americans strongly oppose getting rid of Roe, and they will be paying close attention from now until November to Republicans who are responsible for its demise,” he said.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released its first ad responding to the Supreme Court draft on Wednesday, warning that a Republican-controlled Senate would work to ban abortions nationwide and limit access to birth control.

Republicans shrugged off Democratic arguments that voters might make them pay in November, arguing inflation is likely to be a bigger issue.

Think about that: for the first time in U.S. history the U.S. Supreme Court is reversing what it termed a fundamental constitutional right almost 50 yeats ago. All other privacy rights that Americans take for granted today in marriage and family planning are now seriously threatened. But temporary inflation, due to the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus global pandemic and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is more important?

During World War II, the “greatest generation” made sacrifices for the war effort. They had ration coupon books for everything from food items, to gas, to rubber tires, to clothing. When the monthly coupons ran out, you went without.

Today’s generation of Americans have become the most narcistic and nihilistic in our history. God forbid they are asked to make temporary sacrifices for the greater good, i.e., where a damn mask and get vaccinated and boosted. If today’s generation of Americans had been around in 1941, we would all be speaking German and goose-stepping on Hitler’s birthday today. Many white nationalist Republicans today would be perfectly fine with this.

Murkowski and Collins, along with Manchin, three swing votes in the Senate, all voted against the Democratic legislation.

Vichy Democrat Manchin buttressed the GOP arguments to an extent, saying the bill on the floor went too far.

“We’re going to be voting for a piece of legislation that I will not be voting for today,” Manchin told reporters ahead of the vote. “But I would vote for a Roe v. Wade codification if it was today. I was hopeful for that, but I found out yesterday in caucus that that wasn’t going to be.”

He is full o’ shit. He is opposed to abortion rights. The bill was revised to appease him, and he still voted against it.

The battle lines in the Senate over abortion rights have been clear for years. But the leaked draft, reported by Politico, reignited a firestorm on Capitol Hill that has largely been the dominant issue talked about by senators in the roughly week since then.

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Several polls have shown that a majority of voters support Roe being upheld, giving Democrats an opening on the issue.

Sixty-four percent of respondents to a CBS News-YouGov poll said that they thought the Supreme Court should keep the decision the way it is. Similarly, 66 percent of respondents to a CNN poll found that Roe v. Wade should not be struck down.

Democrats made changes to the legislation from an initial version that failed in the Senate earlier this year with the aim of shoring up support within their own caucus.

Democrats removed a nonbinding findings section that, among other provisions, referred to restrictions on abortion as perpetuating “white supremacy” and called it “a tool of gender oppression.”

The bill would prevent governments from limiting a health care provider’s ability to prescribe certain drugs or prevent health care providers from providing immediate abortion services if a delay would risk a patient’s health, according to the Congressional Research Service.

It also prevents governments from being able to require that a patient make “medically unnecessary in-person visits” before an abortion and would also prevent the government from requiring patients to disclose why they are seeking an abortion.

The bill also broadly would prevent governments from enacting laws that would create similar limits or that “singles out the provision of abortion services, health care providers who provide abortion services, or facilities in which abortion services are provided” and “impedes access to abortion services.”

In a win for Democrats, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced this week that he would support the substance of the legislation.

But Manchin, who also voted against the earlier version of the bill, remained opposed.

Democrats are vowing that the fight isn’t over, but where it goes next is unclear. Some progressive are calling for the Senate to create a carveout to or get rid of the legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most legislation, in order to pass abortion protections. But both Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) reiterated earlier this month that they support the filibuster.

Democrats who led the months-long rules change discussion say a filibuster change has not been a part of the caucus’s internal discussions on how to respond to the draft Supreme Court ruling.

“Everybody’s position is pretty locked in … I haven’t really heard that as a point of discussion in caucus meetings,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

Kaine is in early discussions with Collins to see if they could come up with compromise legislation to codify Roe, though they both stressed that they aren’t close to filing a bill.

But any compromise, if they can reach one, could struggle to get 60 votes in the Senate given deep division lines on abortion. That would leave the final word to the Supreme Court — and then states across the country.

Thirteen states have so-called trigger laws that would kick in to largely ban abortion immediately.

“The unfortunate reality is that 26 other states stand ready to ban abortion rights in the absence of Roe,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “What are the women of these states to do?”

Vice President Kamala Harris, the president of the Senate, responded to the failed vote to codify Roe v Wade.