Published February 28, 2022
This evening, the Senate failed to invoke cloture and proceed to a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, a radical piece of pro-abortion legislation that “codifies Roe v. Wade,” establishes a fundamental right to abortion on demand, and nullifies state pro-life laws across the country. It was a 46-48 vote with six senators not voting.
The bill — which passed the House last fall with the support of every Democrat but one — is now effectively dead. Far from achieving the 60 votes needed to proceed to a vote, it didn’t even achieve 50 votes. Pro-life Democratic senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted against the bill, as did all Republicans, including Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who occasionally support pro-abortion legislation.
As I noted in a piece earlier today, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) scheduled the vote knowing full well that he didn’t have the support he needed to get it through, and indeed without seeming to try to gin up support at all. The vote was aimed instead at shoring up the base in expectation of a Supreme Court ruling this summer weakening or overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which currently mandate abortion on demand and prevent states from enacting most protections for unborn children.
You can be sure that pro-life groups will make hay in the midterms with the results of tonight’s vote, exacerbating a situation that already promises to be damaging for Democrats. Several vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in swing states voted for the bill: Mark Kelly of Arizona, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Raphael Warnock of Georgia, and Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada. It won’t take any exaggerating or embellishment to convince voters in these states that their senators backed a truly extreme and unpopular piece of legislation. Congressional Democrats, in other words, have just exposed their extremism and handed pro-lifers the stick with which to beat them come November.
EPPC Fellow Alexandra DeSanctis writes on culture and family issues, with a particular focus on abortion policy and pro-life advocacy, as a member of the Life and Family Initiative.