News and Commentary

Senate Rejects Democrats’ Attempt To Gut State Pro-Life Laws

   DailyWire.com
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, speaks to members of the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.
Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate blocked a piece of legislation on Monday afternoon that would have codified Roe v. Wade, overturning many pro-life laws passed at the state level.

The Women’s Health Protection Act — sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) — invoked Congress’ right to regulate interstate commerce and argued that “it is difficult and time and resource-consuming for clinics to challenge State laws that burden or impede abortion services.” The bill would have barred state-level regulations such as ultrasound requirements, waiting periods, and certain gestational age restrictions, including the Texas Heartbeat Act.

With a 46 to 48 margin in the Senate, the legislation failed to reach the necessary 60 votes to invoke cloture and proceed to a vote. Six lawmakers did not vote, while Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) opposed the bill alongside his Republican colleagues.

Following the vote, Democrats mourned their failure to pass the legislation, which has already been passed by the House of Representatives.

“Roe v. Wade is hanging on by an ever-thinning thread, which is why I just voted to move forward with the Women’s Health Protection Act — a bill that would protect access to abortion,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. “Disappointed that this critical effort did not succeed.”

“Tonight, Democrats stood up to protect the right to abortion & defend #RoeVWade as the law of the land. Unlike Republicans, we made clear that we trust patients to make their own decisions about their bodies & families,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) added. “We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but I’m not giving up.”

Republicans, however, celebrated the legislation’s failure.

“The Women’s Health Protection Act is a dangerous and disingenuous attempt to codify Roe v. Wade and create a federal right to abortion,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said. “I am glad to stand alongside so many of my colleagues in opposition to this attack on the most vulnerable members of our society. We will continue to fight for life.”

“The Women’s Health Protection Act is an attack against the health of women & unborn children,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said. “Today, I voted against this legislation which would open the pathway for abortion on demand & legalize late term abortions.”

Senate Democrats attempted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act as the Supreme Court considers arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — which pertains to a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks gestation. The Senate vote also comes days after President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to take retiring Justice Stephen Breyer’s place on the Supreme Court — a move that prompted approval from pro-abortion organizations.

“We are thrilled with President Biden’s decision to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson — the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said. “This is a phenomenal and overdue milestone. Judge Jackson is both an eminently qualified jurist and someone who understands the disproportionate impact of our laws and justice system on communities of color. Judge Jackson also has a demonstrated record of defending and upholding our constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms — including reproductive freedom.”