US Senate to Make Second Attempt at Passing Abortion-Legalizing Women’s Health Protection Act

© AP Photo / Gemunu AmarasingheAbortion-rights protesters display placards during a demonstration outside the U.S. Capitol, Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Washington.
Abortion-rights protesters display placards during a demonstration outside the U.S. Capitol, Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Washington. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Senate Democrats are expected to attempt to pass a pro-abortion bill that was unsuccessful earlier this year when the party failed to unite in its support. The decision comes amid the fury over a leaked draft decision by the US Supreme Court that would result in abortion being banned in much of the country.
US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who leads the Democrats in Congress’ upper house, said on Sunday that the Senate would vote on Wednesday on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA).
"Every American will see how every senator stands," Schumer told reporters. He added that Republicans "can't duck it anymore. Republicans have tried to duck it."
The WHPA would codify into US federal law the text of Roe vs. Wade, a 1973 decision by the Supreme Court that legalized abortion under the aegis of a woman’s right to privacy and created a framework for its regulation. Last week, a draft decision by the high court was leaked to the press in which a majority of the justices decided to overturn the 1973 ruling.
While not yet officially published and still subject to revision, news of the court’s intention provoked anxiety and fury across the United States, with dozens of cities being rocked by large protests through the weekend in which people decried the court’s decision as “undemocratic” and demanded action in defense of women’s rights.
Polls show that a large majority of Americans oppose the striking down of Roe vs. Wade and support abortion being legal.
The House passed the WHPA in late September, following the Supreme Court’s decision to allow a Texas law to take effect that clearly violated Roe’s regulatory framework, provoking fears that abortion rights were in imminent danger. The Senate, where Democrats control only the thinnest of majorities, tabled the bill in a March 1 vote that prevented it from being brought to the floor for a pass/fail vote - the vote Schumer now wants to hold.
Democrats have few other tools to protect abortion rights if the high court’s draft decision becomes formalized: they have considered expanding Medicaid funding to states where abortion remains legal in order to compensate for out-of-state women traveling there to terminate their pregnancies, and lawsuits challenging the state laws that ban or restrict abortion there. Instead, leading Democrats are placing the responsibility on US voters, telling them to vote for pro-choice Democrats in the November elections.
“If we are not successful, then we go to the ballot box,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said on the ABC show “This Week” on Sunday. “We march straight to the ballot box, and the women of this country and the men who stand with them will vote like they’ve never voted before.”
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