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Abortion bill fails in U.S. Senate as Supreme Court weighs overturning Roe v. Wade

World May 11, 2022 08:38PM ET
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4/4 © Reuters. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters following the Senate Democrats weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz 2/4

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Legislation to make abortion legal throughout the United States was defeated in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, amid solid Republican opposition.

Democrats had sought to head off an impending Supreme Court opinion that is expected to overturn the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade decision that established the national right to abortion. Wednesday's effort was a protest gesture that never stood much chance of success.

With 49 votes in support and 51 against, the "Women's Health Protection Act" was 11 short of the 60 votes needed to be fully debated in the 100-member Senate.

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

Before the vote, more than two dozen House Democrats, mainly women, marched from the House of Representatives to the Senate chanting "My body, my decision." They then entered the Senate chamber and sat quietly along a back wall while senators debated abortion rights.

Last September, the House voted 218-211 to pass an abortion rights bill nearly identical to the Senate bill.

Although the Senate defeat was widely expected, Democrats hope the vote will help propel more of their candidates to victory in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, as public opinion polls show deep support among voters for abortion rights.

That, 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 authenticity of a draft opinion that signaled it will soon overturn Roe v. Wade.

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

The high-court ruling is expected by the end of its current term, which usually concludes in late June.

At least 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion if the top court strikes down Roe, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for sexual and reproductive health rights.

Following the vote, Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters in the Capitol: "Sadly, the Senate failed to stand in defense of a woman's right to make decisions about her own body... what we are seeing around this country are extremist Republican leaders seeking to criminalize and punish women for making decisions about their own body."

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

Closed-door talks were held on a possible compromise abortion-rights bill, although it was unclear whether Democratic and Republican negotiators would be able to come to agreement, much less lure the 60 votes needed for any such measure.

Opinion polls have shown the right to abortion to be broadly popular. A Reuters/Ipsos poll last week found 63% of respondents, including 78% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans, would be more likely to back candidates in November's elections who support abortion rights.

Abortion bill fails in U.S. Senate as Supreme Court weighs overturning Roe v. Wade
 

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Comments (17)
Forex Harbingers
ForexHarbingers May 13, 2022 9:37AM ET
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Just think of how many future geniuses, scientists, teachers, mathematicians, etc we have aborted. Its disgusting to think of. And you cant think of abortions as "healthcare" as every ***carries heavy risk to the woman and her reproductive system. This is disgusting.
Frank Celseti
Frank Celseti May 12, 2022 3:25AM ET
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The democrats hope is that if they make you worried about abotion rights then you will forget how bad the economy really is. Lol They know that if SCOTUS leaves it to the individual states to decide they lose a political football used to keep people affraid and keep voting to keep their jobs. Like Bill Clinton said “Its the economy stupid!”
gab nea
gab nea May 12, 2022 1:33AM ET
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if only you had a brain!
gab nea
gab nea May 11, 2022 11:44PM ET
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the Republicans fake ****stance is to protect the fetus till born. after the human child is first born, you are on your own mommy. no food, no health care no housing, no help at all, nada. and oh, no responsibility whatsoever to the person contributing the ***** that's it?
gab nea
gab nea May 11, 2022 11:44PM ET
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abortion
gab nea
gab nea May 11, 2022 11:44PM ET
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sperm
gab nea
gab nea May 11, 2022 11:40PM ET
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get rid of the filibuster like moscow mitch did whenever he felt like it. he damaged the reputation of the court. what a downfall! let the leaks begin!
Todd Holaday
JustWilliam May 11, 2022 9:51PM ET
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If only unborn babies could vote. Sadly they must count on us.
gab nea
gab nea May 11, 2022 9:51PM ET
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they protect the unborn and oppress the living, what a tact, is it working for you?
krish va
krish va May 11, 2022 9:48PM ET
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abortion should be available up until some weeks, maybe 6 or 8, after which it should be illegal ....
Otb Investor
Otb Investor May 11, 2022 9:35PM ET
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Greater Good = communi sam
Otb Investor
Otb Investor May 11, 2022 9:34PM ET
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My body, my choice... Unless it's muzzle and vac - then it's whatever the Government says for the 'Greater Good'.
Jeff Chevalier
Jeff Chevalier May 11, 2022 8:44PM ET
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All you're going to end up with is thousands of kids in orphanages. You might be able to make them have the baby, but you can't make them keep it.!
Jeff Chevalier
Jeff Chevalier May 11, 2022 8:44PM ET
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Plus, all these right for life ultra Christian people are NOT going to line up to adopt them.
Co Gonz
Co Gonz May 11, 2022 8:44PM ET
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Fallon the states.. All this does is lower taxes because PP won't get federal funding anymore
 
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