The Senate is going to vote on a bill that would enshrine broad protections for legal abortion nationwide, a move triggered by a leak by the Supreme Court draft opinion that indicates Roe v. Wade will likely be overturned.
The House's vote on the Women's Health Protection Act is all but certain to fail, with only 49 senators expected to support the measure, below the 60 vote requirement to defeat a Republican filibuster.
Democratic leaders see the vote as a chance to stir up their base ahead of midterm elections in November in which their party faces stiff headwinds, from President Joe Biden's negative approval ratings to voter concerns about inflation. Strategists in the party hope to make an impression on the sizable majority of Americans who want to uphold Roe v. Wade.
Among the 50 Democrats, only Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, opposes the bill. The bill was approved by the Democratic Senator Bob Casey, of Pennsylvania, who has held anti-abortion views for years, saying the circumstances have changed.
All 50 Republicans oppose the legislation. Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska say they support abortion rights and have proposed a narrower bill that includes carve-outs for religious or moral objections.
Ahead of the vote, Senate Democratic leaders circulated a letter from progressive and reproductive rights groups — including the Center for American Progress, NARAL and Planned Parenthood — arguing that the Collins-Murkowski bill would not protect the right to abortion. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N. Y., said it was one of the most important votes we take in this chamber in decades. For the first time in 50 years, a conservative majority - an extreme conservative majority on the Supreme Court is on the brink of declaring that women do not have the right to an abortion, that they do not have the right to control their own bodies, he said Tuesday.
While Democrats try to paint Republicans and their chosen conservative judges as radical, the GOP has spent recent days arguing that Democrats are out of touch with most Americans, who say they favor some restrictions on legal abortion.
According to a Pew Research Center poll taken in March, 61 percent of U.S. adults say they want abortion to be mostly legal, but just 19 percent say it should be legal in all cases, without exceptions, according to a March poll by the Pew Research Center.
Today s Democratic Party is deeply out of step with the American people on this issue, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a floor speech. Schumer wants the Senate to pass a bill that would legalize abortion on demand through all nine months. The Supreme Court draft opinion may not be the final decision and has no force of law until issued. It was widely expected that the court would overturn Roe v. Wade and the subsequent Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld a constitutional right to abortion.
McConnell poured cold water on that prospect as Republicans weigh the pursuit of a nationwide abortion ban if they gain power. Although he kept the door open to holding votes to curtail legal abortion, he promised to preserve the 60 - vote threshold that applies to abortion bills if Republicans win control of the Senate.
There have been abortion votes on the floor of the Senate. He told reporters Tuesday that none of them had achieved 60 votes. There aren't 60 votes there at the federal level.