Joe Manchin has essentially killed Democrats’ efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law as his party prepares to bring a vote on abortion legislation Wednesday afternoon.
‘We’re going to be voting on a piece of legislation, which I will not vote for today.,’ Manchin told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
‘But I would vote for a Roe v. Wade codification if it was today – I was hopeful for that,’ the West Virginia Democrat assured. ‘But I found out yesterday in caucus that wasn’t going to be and you probably heard of that by now.’
President Joe Biden’s new Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre said Wednesday that abortion rights are in ‘severe jeopardy’ after a Supreme Court draft opinion was leaked last week and showed an impending overturn of the landmark abortion rights ruling.
‘It is imperative for Congress to act to adapt to adopt statutory protections for women’s access to health care services and productive choices,’ she added, noting that there is a ‘strong support from the American people’ on keeping the law in place.
In what will be a show-vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will attempt to file cloture to stop Republicans filibustering the Women’s Health Protection Act, which was introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Schumer knows he doesn’t have the votes needed to make the landmark abortion case federal law but says he wants to put anti-abortion lawmakers on the record.
Moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin told reporters at the Capitol Wednesday (pictured) that he would not vote to file cloture on ending a filibuster for a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade
The attempt comes after Democrats tried to get the same bill through in February, but the measure has more urgency now that a Supreme Court leak shows a draft opinion that would overturn 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion constitutionally protected.
While Democrats try to invoke culture on the Women’s Health Protection Act and stop a GOP filibuster – three senators will be able to stop that effort and prevent the bill from going for a full floor vote.
Moderate Manchin from West Virginia will not support a cloture vote and already went against his party on the same abortion bill earlier this year.
Democrats were hoping to for a plan B that would see pro-choice Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine vote with them to make up for Manchin’s defection. But it’s unlikely that either, or both, will flip on the issue from when they last voted against it as recently as February.
The House already passed its version of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade into law, but the Senate was unable to do so with the trio of moderates against making abortion rights federal law.
Manchin and Democratic Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema have stopped their party from getting rid of the filibuster in order for the slim majority to be able to jam through whatever legislation they desire without the need for 60 votes to bring it to the floor.
Senator Chuck Schumer (pictured Tuesday at the Capitol) will try to overcome a GOP filibuster Wednesday and bring a floor vote on codifying abortion rights into federal law – but the effort is almost assuredly dead on arrival as Democrats don’t have the votes to get the legislation through
The new urgency in the push comes after a Supreme Court leak shows a draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Pictured: Police watch anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court Building on Tuesday, May 10
Since Manchin opposes the legislation, Democrats aren’t even able to use the ‘nuclear option’ to only need a simple majority of votes, which is the only conceivable options to get this abortion legislation passed.
Many more progressive senators, like independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand from New York, are reupping calls to end the filibuster in order to protect Roe. But the topic was not discussed during Democrats weekly lunch on Tuesday.
While typically a Senate leader won’t bring a vote unless they feel there are the votes to pass it, Schumer says it’s important for every senator to go on the record on abortion rights. He claims the proposal is ‘very simple’.
His team also feels it’s important to show that Democrats are fighting for a woman’s ability to terminate their pregnancy.
‘[W]e are making sure that … every senator will have to vote and every, every American will see how they voted,’ Schumer said, according to Punchbowl News. ‘And I believe the Republican Party, the MAGA Republican Party, will suffer the consequences electorally when the American people see that.’
Republicans are overwhelmingly against abortion and believe the decision making on the matter should go back to the states so laws can reflect constituents and the values of different jurisdictions.
Large, un-scalable fencing was erected around the Supreme Court following the leak last week as demonstrations between pro- and anti-abortion activists became increasingly violent and threatening towards Supreme Court Justices
Pro-choice activists protests with Democratic Representative Cori Bush outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday
On the other hand, Democrats are trying to play a potential Roe v. Wade overturn as a hit to privacy, specifically between women and their healthcare providers. Many, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have presented slippery slope arguments claiming gay marriage and birth control will be the next to go.
The Women’s Health Protection Act is headed by Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. He told Punchbowl on tuesday that the legislation is critical because it would prevent states from legal challenges to the 50-year status quo on abortion rights.
‘Part of what Roe precludes are restrictions like admitting privileges, ultrasounds, mandatory waiting periods, which have been litigated to violate [rights], but which states continue to pass,’ the senator said.
Nevada Senator Jackie Rosen said Democrats need to ‘take that fear’ and ‘channel it into action to defend our majority.’
‘We’re not living in a hypothetical,’ she added.
In recent years, red states have started implementing restrictions on abortion – whether it be the timelines allowed for a pregnancy termination or preventing anyone from aiding a woman in seeking an abortion.
These laws are almost always challenged and make their way up through the court system.
The most recent, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is a Mississippi case that would ban abortion after 15 weeks into a pregnancy. This is the case that made its way to the Supreme Court and led to the draft opinion by conservative Justice Samuel Alito that would entirely overturn Roe v. Wade.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is the only conservative of six to dissent with liberals, according to the leak earlier this month from Politico.
Roberts is, however, in favor of the 15-week ban.
With a 6-3 majority bench, conservatives can afford to lose on justice to liberal and still prevail.