The United States Senate on May 11 failed to advance a Democrat-led bill that would preserve access to legal abortion nationwide ahead of a Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade.
The Senate rejected the Women’s Health Protection Act in a 49 to 51 vote, with moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin joining all Republicans to vote against the measure.
The bill would codify the right to access abortion into federal law and guarantee the right of healthcare providers to perform abortion services.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that the bill “would attack Americans’ conscience rights and religious freedoms.”
The failed vote comes as the U.S. Supreme Court may be set to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, as suggested by a leaked draft opinion.
The failure to pass the bill was expected among Republican resistance and mirrored a similar vote on abortion protections the Senate took in February.
President Joe Biden criticized Republican Senators after the failed Senate vote.
“This failure to act comes at a time when women’s constitutional rights are under unprecedented attack — and it runs counter to the will of the majority of American people,” Biden said in a statement.
“Republicans in Congress — not one of whom voted for this bill — have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families, and lives,” Biden further said.
Biden vowed that his administration “will not stop fighting to protect access to women’s reproductive care.”
“We will continue to defend women’s constitutional rights to make private reproductive choices as recognized in Roe v. Wade nearly half a century ago, and my Administration will continue to explore the measures and tools at our disposal to do just that,” Biden said.
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