On Wednesday afternoon, Senate Democrats were unable to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have codified the right to get an abortion into law.
The act had to reach a 60-vote threshold to pass in the evenly divided Senate chamber. The legislation received 49 votes in favor, and 51 against, with Democrat Senator Joe Manchin voting alongside all 50 Republicans against it.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced last week that the chamber would be holding a vote on the act, following the leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court which indicated that a majority of the justices would vote to overturn Roe v Wade.
The act prohibits restrictions on both obtaining and performing abortions.
"A health care provider has a statutory right under this Act to provide abortion services, and may provide abortion services, and that provider’s patient has a corresponding right to receive such services," the legislation states, listing off a number of limitations that would not have been be permitted under the new law.
These prohibited limitations included limitations on abortion-inducing drugs, limitations on Telehealth abortion services, and a ban on abortion any time prior to fetal viability.
The legislation would have also prohibited the requirement that health care providers need to "perform specified tests, services, or procedures prior to or subsequent to the abortion," unless generally required for the procedure.
The act failed to pass in the Senate back in February, with the piece of legislation failing to reach that 60-vote threshold.
Speaking in last week, Schumer said, "Republicans will have two choices. They can own the destruction of women's rights, or they can reverse course and work to prevent the damage. Currently I'm skeptical that they'll do the latter."
"For two decades, over two decades, Republicans across the country have worked to dismantle Roe. They've worked to take away the rights of women who simply want to make their own choices and not be told by some doctors, some senators, some court justice, how to treat their bodies," he later added.
"Republican politicians across the country are passing laws telling the women of America, your body, our choice. So much for the party of limited government," he said.
Following the leak from the Supreme Court, protests broke out across the country, with activists urging lawmakers to pass the bill.
In Maine, protestors had written messages on the sidewalk outside Sen. Susan Collins' home urging her to vote for the legislation. She voted against it.
Following the leak, President Joe Biden issued a statement urging Americans to vote more pro-abortion lawmakers into office during the upcoming midterm elections.
"And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law," Biden said, noting that the administration was crafting their response in the case that the Supreme Court does overturn Roe."
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