Democratic Senator Joe Manchin joined all 50 Republicans in opposing efforts to advance the legislation known as the Women’s Health Protection Act
The Senate on Wednesday, May 11, failed by a vote of 49 to 51 to codify abortion rights into a bill, giving Democrats a chance to publicly demonstrate their support for abortion rights. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined all 50 Republicans in opposing efforts to advance the law known as the Women’s Health Protection Act. Vice President Kamala Harris appeared at the Capitol and presided over the voting.
The vote comes at a time when the Supreme Court could make a decision to uphold the landmark Roe v. overturn the 1973 Wade verdict. Although Democratic leaders pushed ahead with the test vote, it was already clear that they would not reach the required 60 vote threshold. Senator Chuck Schumer said the need to strengthen abortion rights at the federal level is too important to ignore before the November midterm elections.
“This is not a theoretical exercise, oh no. Protecting the right to vote at this critical moment is one of the most momentous votes we can possibly conduct, and the American people are watching,” Schumer said just before the Senate vote. “The public will not forget which side of the vote senators fall on today, will not forget who voted to protect their liberties, and will not forget those responsible for the greatest backsliding of individual liberties in half a century are.”
Shortly after the vote, President Joe Biden said in a statement, “This failure to act comes at a time when women’s constitutional rights are under unprecedented attack — and it goes against the will of the majority of the American people.” To protect the right to vote, voters need to elect more pro-choice senators this November and return a pro-choice majority to the House of Representatives. If they do that, Congress can pass this bill in January and put it on my desk, so I can sign it into law.” He later tweeted, “Once again — with fundamental rights on the Supreme Court at risk — Senate Republicans have blocked passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would restrict access to reproductive health care affirmatively protects.”
Earlier on May 11, Manchin confirmed that he would vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act. “Make no mistake, it is not a codification of Roe v. Wade,” he said. “It’s an extension. It wipes 500 state laws off the books, it expands abortion, and that doesn’t get us there today. We shouldn’t divide this country further than we are already divided, and it really is Congressional policy that is dividing the country.”
The law would ensure abortion access across the country as many states have their own restrictions. It would also prohibit certain restrictions on vendors. Democrats tried to pass the same bill in February. The urgency now, however, comes from a leak from the Supreme Court, which showed a draft opinion ruling Roe v. Wade would repeal from 1973. The Supreme Court insisted that the document was neither a decision nor the final position of its members.
Many social media users are furious after the Women’s Health Protection Act failed to pass the Senate. “Women’s Health Protection Act is not progressing in Senate 49-51. EVERY Republican voted against the measure. I pray that people will flock to the polls this November. Sitting it out isn’t an option when you’re caring for women. Vote blue!” one user wrote on Twitter. “One vote missing! WTAF! We need more women and less grumpy GOP old men in Congress,” one user said. One user wrote, “I mean, it was expected. But it is yet another slap in the face to know how few people actually care about women.”
Some, on the other hand, are glad the law failed. “If you support an abortion that is performed up to the day before the birth, you are a despicable piece of shit. Since you liberals like to change the definition of things, a baby should now include one that is in the womb. Happy to see the bill fail,” said one user, while another wrote, “The stupidity of the abortion vote is not only that it was doomed, but it has highlighted how useless the Democrats are, while raising unrealistic expectations. You could actually do something that would make a difference.” All the pressing issues in this country and the US Senate is wasting its time voting to kill a defenseless fetus from conception to birth . A vote they knew would fail. The priorities and leadership in our country are so bad,” one user wrote.