Senate Democrats on Wednesday failed to pass legislation that would enshrine abortion rights into federal law, a move that was all but certainly destined to fail from the start.
Why it matters: The effort comes as Democratic lawmakers and abortion advocates are upping the ante on calls to pass legislation codifying abortion rights after a leaked Supreme Court draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
The bill would have banned states from putting any restrictions on abortion, including ones that fall short of a total ban.
State of play: Days after the leaked draft was published last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the Senate would vote to write abortion protections into federal law.
The measure fell 11 votes short of the 60 votes it needed to pass, as all Republicans voted against the measure, in addition to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who said the bill goes too far, CNN reports.Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), two Republican senators who generally oppose abortion restrictions, also voted no on the measure, saying it’s too expansive.
The big picture: Schumer still viewed the vote as one of “the most important we ever take,” signaling to voters that Democratic lawmakers are fighting for reproductive rights heading into the midterm elections, the New York Times reports.
“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,” Schumer said last week.
What they’re saying: “If we do not take a stand now to protect a woman’s right to choose, then, mark my words, it will be open season on our God given freedoms,” Schumer said on the Senate floor before the vote.
“Today it will be Roe. Tomorrow it will be a national ban on abortion. And beyond that, something even more dreadful. We cannot allow this shameful backslide to happen,” he said.