Democrat Sen. Manchin joins GOP in blocking Dems' abortion bill

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks with reporters May 11, 2022, about his party's effort to codify the Roe decision. (Video screenshot)
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks with reporters May 11, 2022, about his party’s effort to codify the Roe decision. (Video screenshot)

A Democratic Party bill that would have made abortion legal up to birth failed to advance in the Senate Wednesday, with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joining all 50 Republicans in opposition.

“They’re trying to make people believe that this is the same thing as codifying Roe v. Wade,” Manchin told reporters. “And I want you to know, it’s not. This is not the same. It expands abortion.”

The bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, needed 60 votes to advance but failed even to obtain a simple majority.

President Biden immediately reacted to the vote, charging Republicans are blocking abortion legislation as “women’s constitutional rights are under unprecedented attack.”

Voters, he said, need to elect more Democrats in the midterm elections this November and “return a pro-choice majority to the House.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, had a similar reaction.

“No, the Senate bill codifying Roe did not pass, but tomorrow we get up and we fight again,” she wrote on Twitter. “And in November, we take that fight right to the ballot box.”

Author and political analyst Jared Yates Sexton made it clear there’s no room in the Democratic Party for lawmakers who oppose any restrictions on abortion.

“The problem isn’t just Joe Manchin’s cruelty and disregard of the lives and fates of Americans or that he’s bought and sold several times over,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s also that there’s room within the Democratic Party for Manchin and the many others like him.”

See Manchin’s remarks:

Vice President Kamala Harris, who presided over the vote, claimed “the Senate is not where the majority of Americans are on” abortion.

However, as the Republican National Committee pointed out, polls indicate about 80% of Americans are against third-trimester abortions.

At the opening of debate on the bill Wednesday, when it was clear the bill would fail, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made declaration with which Republicans likely agree.

“As Americans make their decisions in this year’s elections, this question will not go away. They will pay close attention from now until November to Republicans who are responsible for its demise,” he said of the legislation.

“So for my Republican colleagues who have spent the last week wanting to talk about anything other than Roe, it’s time to go on the record. All of us will have to answer to this vote for the rest of our time in Congress.”

See the vice president’s remarks:

The Senate bill, written by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., bars states from passing laws that restrict abortion.

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine have opposed abortion restrictions, but they joined Manchin in regarding the Democrats’ bill as too expansive.

Denise Burke, senior counsel of the pro-life legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, said Wednesday that the Senate “once again rejected legislation that would have endangered women and unborn babies under the guise of ‘health care.'”

The bill, she said, “would have prohibited most – if not all – of the reasonable state laws related to abortion that are currently in place to protect the health of pregnant mothers, the dignity of unborn children, and the integrity of the medical profession.”

“Despite claims from Senate Democrats that this legislation is about preserving Roe v. Wade in anticipation of a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the bill goes well beyond even the current Roe standard in its attempt to entrench unrestricted abortion access until birth,” she said.

“Time and time again,” Burke continued, “the American people have expressed opposition to such extreme abortion policies, yet congressional Democrats insist on enacting legislation that appeals solely to the abortion industry and its allies.”

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