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Schumer sets futile Senate abortion vote as Manchin opposes

Schumer sets futile Senate abortion vote as Manchin opposes


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s effort to get his colleagues on the record about codifying abortion rights into federal law was set to backfire spectacularly Wednesday as fellow Democrat Joe Manchin told reporters he would vote against beginning debate on legislation.

The test vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act was always going to fall well short of the required 60 “yeas,” but Manchin’s announcement hours before the scheduled afternoon vote ensured a bipartisan majority would filibuster the legislation.

“They’re trying to make people believe that this [bill] is the same thing as codifying Roe v. Wade,” Manchin (D-WV) told Politico. “And I want you to know, it’s not. This is not the same. It expands abortion.”

The vote will take place days after a Supreme Court draft opinion indicating that the high court will overturn its 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide was leaked to the press. Democrats have seized on the leaked draft to stoke protests and activism among their base in the hope of making unexpected gains in the November midterm elections.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) appealed to his colleagues in both parties, calling the vote “one of the most consequential we will take in decades.”
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Abortion rights activist protests outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 11, 2022
An abortion rights activist protests outside the Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 11, 2022.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference on the Womens Health Protection Act, outside the U.S. Capitol on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 in Washington, DC.
The test vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act was always going to fall well short of the required 60 “yeas.”
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Wednesday will mark the second time Manchin has voted against most of his party on the issue. In February, he joined 47 Republicans to oppose opening debate on the legislation.

The bill would supersede most state laws concerning abortion, including those requiring parental notification or consent for the procedure and allowing doctors to refuse to perform abortions if they object on the grounds of personal conscience.

On the Senate floor Wednesday morning, Schumer (D-NY) appealed to his colleagues in both parties, calling the vote “one of the most consequential we will take in decades.” 

People wait for the start of a news conference regarding women’s health care, on Capitol Hill May 23, 2019
Democrats have seized on the leaked draft to stoke protests and activism among their base.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
People march and demonstrate in support of abortion rights, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, near the Bob Casey United States Courthouse in Houston
Wednesday will mark the second time Sen. Joe Manchin has voted against most of his party on abortion.
Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP
People demonstrate in support of abortion rights, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at the Bob Casey United States Courthouse in Houston.
People demonstrate in support of abortion rights, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at the Bob Casey United States Courthouse in Houston.
Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP

“For the first time in 50 years, the conservative majority — and extreme majority — on the Supreme Court is on the brink of declaring that women do not have freedom over their own bodies,” Schumer said, adding that each senator would decide whether “to protect the fundamental rights for women across the country, or stand with five conservative justices ready to destroy these rights in one fell swoop.” 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted the legislation Wednesday morning, calling it “extreme” and accusing Democrats of ordering up “a failed show vote that will only prove their own extremism.”

“Our Democratic colleagues want to vote for abortion on demand through all nine months, until the moment the baby is born,” said McConnell, who added that the bill “ignores modern science.” 

Abortion-rights demonstrators gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building on May 10, 2022
The bill would supersede most state laws concerning abortion.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Pro-life and pro-choice demonstrators gather in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.
Pro-life and pro-choice demonstrators gather in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
Anti-abortion protesters pray in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 09, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Anti-abortion protesters pray in front of the US Supreme Court building on May 9, 2022, in Washington, DC.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“It is chilling that anybody would write legislation like this in 2022,” the minority leader went on. “It’s even more disturbing that 97% of Washington Democrats have put their names on this. The American people need to see what the far left has become, so I’m glad the Senate will vote today. We will stand with the American people, stand with innocent life, and block the Democrats’ extreme bill.”

The final Supreme Court opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will likely be released by the court in mid- to late June.





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