Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the lone Democrat to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act — and he explained his vote to reporters, saying that the proposed bill was not the codification of Roe v. Wade that many Democrats were claiming it was.
Manchin addressed the issue just hours before the Senate took a vote on the WHPA — a vote that was forced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) despite the knowledge that without Manchin’s support it would not even garner 50 votes, much less the necessary 60 to get past the filibuster.
MANCHIN: "Make no mistake. It is not Roe v. Wade codification. It's an expansion. It wipes 500 state laws off the books. It expands abortion." pic.twitter.com/yfj6w3gTXU
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) May 11, 2022
“The bill we have today to vote on, the Women’s Health Protection Act, and I respect people who support it — but make no mistake, it is not Roe v. Wade codification,” Manchin told reporters. “It’s an expansion. It wipes 500 — 500 state laws off the books — it expands abortion. And with that, that’s not where we are today. We should not be dividing this country further than we’re already divided.”
“It’s really — the politics of Congress that’s dividing the country, it’s not the people,” Manchin said. “They — they’re telling us what they want. And it’s just disappointing that we’re going to be voting on a piece of legislation that I will not vote for today.”
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who has proposed her own legislation codifying a federal right to abortion with fellow Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), joined every other Republican senator in voting against the measure as well — and for much the same reason as Manchin.
Collins criticized the WHPA as “too broad,” arguing that it did not leave room for exemptions for religious organizations such as Catholic hospitals.
“It supersedes all other federal and state laws, including the conscience protections that are in the Affordable Care Act,” Collins lamented, adding, “It doesn’t protect the right of a Catholic hospital to not perform abortions. That right has been enshrined in law for a long time.”
The WHPA failed in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, as expected, with Manchin ensuring that the 51-49 majority striking it down was bipartisan. Critics were quick to attack the West Virginia Democrat, blaming him for the bill’s failure.