The Senate will hold a key vote on the bill to preserve the right to abortion with Roe v. Wade in danger

The bill’s failure should underscore how severely limited Democrats are in what they can accomplish with their slim Senate majority, even as the party faces enormous pressure to act on abortion rights. , fearing that Roe v. Wade will soon be canceled. But holding the vote will give Democrats a chance to shine a light on the problem and criticize Republican resistance to the legislation’s passage.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the vote of one of the “most important” senators, “not just this session, but in this century.”

“This is not an abstract exercise, it’s as real and as urgent as possible,” Schumer said at a press conference on Friday.

The Senate will vote to advance a version of the Women’s Health Protection Act sponsored by Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. The bill would codify the right to access abortion in federal law and guarantee the right of health care providers to perform abortion services. A version of the bill passed by the House failed to advance in the Senate earlier this year amid opposition from the GOP.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats for forcing a vote this week codifying the Roe v. Wade decision, arguing that “it would attack Americans’ conscience rights and religious freedoms.”

“It would overturn modest and hugely popular safeguards like waiting times, informed consent laws and possibly even parental notification,” McConnell said of the Democrats’ bill in remarks to the Senate on Monday.

The introduction of the legislation also threatens to highlight divisions among Democrats. Key moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who represents the red state of West Virginia and has previously described himself as “pro-life and proud of it”, voted with Republicans against the bill when he was introduced in the Senate in February.

So far, Manchin has not said how he plans to vote on the Democratic bill when it comes to a vote this week. On Tuesday, he said he was still considering how to vote. “We have information. We’ll have a lawyer sit down,” Manchin told reporters on Capitol Hill.

The senses. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, rare Republican proponents of abortion rights, introduced their own legislation to codify the rights established by Roe into federal law.
But both voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act in February. Last week, Collins argued that the measure proposed by Democrats was too broad and expressed concern that it did not include a so-called conscience clause, which would allow providers to refuse to practice. abortions for religious or moral reasons.

Asked at a press conference on Friday why he wouldn’t introduce the Collins and Murkowski bill instead, which may receive bipartisan support, Schumer said: “We’re not looking to jeopardize anything. ‘as vital as this one.’

Earlier this week, more than a dozen abortion rights groups wrote a letter strongly opposing Murkowski and Collins’ bill, saying it “would not protect the right to abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned”.

Democrats have sounded the alarm and reacted with outrage in response to a recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealing plans to overturn Roe v. Wade after about five decades.

Republicans, despite much opposition to abortion rights, have instead focused their response on the explosive leak of the Supreme Court opinion, arguing that the leak itself poses a significant threat to judicial independence and the freedom from outside interference.

CNN’s Ted Barrett and Manu Raju contributed.

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