In turn, Sen. Bob Casey will vote yes to Democrats’ abortion legislation

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Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. said Tuesday he would support legislation that would codify Roe vs. Wade in the law, a sea change for one of the few remaining Democrats in Congress with relatively conservative views on abortion rights.

Casey, from Pennsylvania, said he would vote yes to move the debate on the Women’s Health Protection Act forward this week and would support the bill if there was a vote on its final passage . He added that “the circumstances surrounding the whole abortion debate” had changed since the House last voted on the bill nearly three months ago.

“In light of the leaked Supreme Court draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, and subsequent reports that Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate will introduce legislation to enact a nationwide six-week ban, the real question right now is: do you support an outright ban on abortion? Casey said in a statement. “During my tenure in public service, I have never voted for – and do not support – such a ban.”

The Senate is set to vote Wednesday on moving the bill forward, an effort likely to falter due to Republican opposition.

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Casey is the son of Robert P. Casey, who fought a battle as Governor of Pennsylvania against Planned Parenthood that ultimately led to the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1992. Family planning c. Casey.

After the Supreme Court’s draft majority opinion overturning Roe vs. Wade leaked last week, Senator Casey stressed that he has “serious concerns about what reversing nearly 50 years of legal precedent will mean for women in states passing near or banning sex altogether.” abortion”.

Characterizing Casey’s record on abortion is more complicated than for most of his fellow Democrats. He helped advance the Women’s Health Protection Act this year. But when Republicans controlled the majority in the Senate, Casey supported a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He also supported the Hyde Amendment, which banned federal funding for abortions.

Yet those positions have not won him much favor with anti-abortion groups who emphasize votes on Supreme Court nominations as a litmus test for senators and Senate candidates. On those, Casey was consistent, voting against President Donald Trump’s three High Court nominees.

Casey said Tuesday that he did not speak with Sen. Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.), the other anti-abortion Democrat in the Senate, before making his announcement, although he noted that he had spoken with Manchin about the issue in the past.

When asked if his own personal beliefs had changed, Casey replied that it was “actually a bill”.

“I think when an issue is so much on the minds of people across the country, especially women and their families, you should make it clear how you’re going to vote on a bill even though we’re not in…final passage” , did he declare.

Casey added that the labels that have long described this debate — like “pro-life” or “pro-choice” — seem to have changed.

“I think it’s now about [abortion] ban or no ban,” Casey said. “I think that’s how it’s going to be. And this bill is a direct rejection of the abortion ban, and I support it.

Casey was re-elected to his third term in the Senate in 2018 and is not eligible for re-election until 2024.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.

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