‘This is real and as urgent as it gets’: Chuck Schumer says the Senate will vote on a bill to codify abortion NEXT WEEK – even though it will likely fail – as White House and Democrats scramble in response to the Roe v. Wade leak
- ‘This is real and as urgent as it gets,’ the New York Democrat said, announcing that the vote would be held on Wednesday
- Though Schumer said it would be one of the ‘most important’ votes the Senate would take, the legislation is likely to fail in the split Senate
- ‘The Republican Party will either side with the extremists who want to ban abortion without exceptions, or side with women,’ Schumer said
- GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have both expressed support for abortion rights, but call Democrats’ legislation ‘too broad’
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to hold a vote on legislation to codify abortion rights next week in the fallout of the leaked preliminary Supreme Court opinion.
‘This is real and as urgent as it gets,’ the New York Democrat said, announcing that the vote would be held on Wednesday.
Though Schumer said it would be one of the ‘most important’ votes the Senate would take, the legislation is likely to fail in the split Senate. Abortion legislation would need 60 votes to break a filibuster.
And when Democrats held a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) in February, it got just 46 votes. The party’s efforts to eliminate a decades-old ban on federal funding of abortions also died out in the Senate after passing in the House.
The WHPA passed the House mainly along party lines, 218-211, last September. Republicans have argued the bill goes too far – basically eliminating a state’s right to put restrictions on abortion.
Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have both expressed support for abortion rights – and disappointment in the high court’s preliminary decision – but both have called the WHPA too broad. Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, W. Va., also voted agains the bill previously.
Collins said she also worried the Democrats’ bill could do away with the Hyde Amendment.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to hold a vote on legislation to codify abortion rights next week in the fallout of the leaked preliminary Supreme Court opinion
The bill would protect a woman’s right to end her pregnancy at least until ‘fetal viability,’ about 22 to 24 weeks, and would require abortions be legal up until birth if ‘when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.’ The bill directs courts to ‘liberally’ interpret the legislation. The bill’s chief sponsor in the Senate, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said that the bill ‘doesn’t distinguish’ between physical and mental health in decisions on late-term abortions.
The bill would eliminate any restrictions put in place by states pre-viability, such as requiring special admitting privileges for providers or imposing waiting periods. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had brought the bill for a vote after Texas’ ban on abortions after six weeks.
Now, Schumer is responding to a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion obtained by Politico indicating that a majority of justices are in favor of overturning 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey, tossing abortion rules back to states. Twenty-six states are ‘certain or likely’ to make abortion illegal in most cases if Roe is overturned, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute.
Though the vote is likely to fail, Schumer will force all senators to go on record on abortion ahead of the midterms, essentially helping vulnerable Democrats bring home a pro-choice vote ahead of elections.
The leaked preliminary Supreme Court opinion sent shockwaves across the nation, and pro-choice protesters immediately took to the streets like the above in Austin, Texas
Nichole McClish of Lansing, Mich., uses a sign to block anti-choice protesters at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, Tuesday, May 3
Protesters gather at the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing, Mich., Tuesday, May 3
‘Every American will get to see on which side every senator stands,’ Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
‘All week we’ve been seeing Republicans try to duck, dodge and dip from their responsibility for bringing Roe to the brink of total repeal. That’s what they’ve been trying to do for decades,’ Schumer said Thursday. ‘Next week, the American people will see crystal clear that when given the chance to right this wrong, the Republican Party will either side with the extremists who want to ban abortion without exceptions, or side with women, with families and the vast majority of Americans.’
Collins and Murkowski, meanwhile, have proposed their own Reproductive Choice Act, which would prohibit states from placing an ‘undue burden’ on women trying to terminate a pregnancy before viability.
Unlike the WHPA, Collins and Murkowski say their bill would not impede on legally protected religious freedoms and would allow states to prohibit sex-based abortions and require parental or guardian notification for minors seeking an abortion.
They say their bill would codify rights provided under Roe, without going any further, but would not include other ‘extraneous’ and ‘overreaching’ provisions included in the WHPA.
Sens. Collins and Murkowski, meanwhile, have proposed their own Reproductive Choice Act, which would prohibit states from placing an ‘undue burden’ on women trying to terminate a pregnancy before viability
Both moderate Republican senators expressed frustrations with the high court after the leaked preliminary opinion.
‘If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,’ Collins said in a statement.
Collins voted under President Trump for Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both of whom reportedly are in favor of overturning Roe.
Murkowski, who voted for Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett but not Kavanaugh, said: ‘We don’t know the direction that this decision may ultimately take, but if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated, I will just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now.’
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