Washington — The Senate will vote next week on advancing legislation that would enshrine the right to an abortion established in Roe v. Wade into federal law, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday, calling the vote the "one of the most important" members will take.
The bill is almost certain to fail, since 60 votes would be needed to move forward. Democrats control 50 seats in the Senate.
The swift action from the upper chamberby Politico on Monday of a draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court indicating the court had voted to overturn Roe, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. The draft opinion for a case involving a was written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated among the justices in February. The Supreme Court confirmed its authenticity, but noted the document was not a final decision and did not represent members' final views on the issue.
"Come next week, Senate Republicans will have to answer for everything they've done over the years to embolden the hard right's hostility against a woman's choice," Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor. "They will not be able to hide from the American people and cannot hide their role in bringing Roe to an end. The vote will tell, next week. America will be watching."
Schumer said he would file cloture on the measure on Monday, teeing up a procedural vote with the 60-vote threshold on Wednesday.
"All week we've been seeing Republicans try to duck, dodge and dip from their responsibility for bringing Roe to the brink of total repeal. That's what they've been trying to do for decades," he said. "Next week, the American people will see crystal clear that when given the chance to right this wrong, the Republican Party will either side with the extremists who want to ban abortion without exceptions, or side with women, with families and the vast majority of Americans."
The effort will mark the second time the Senate has attempted to move legislation forward protecting abortion access nationwide. In February, the upper chamber took up the House-passed Women's Health Protection Act, but failed to advance the measure in a 46 to 48 vote, well short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
Two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, support abortion rights, but have said the Women's Health Protection Act is too broad. The pair introduced their own narrower bill in February that would enshrine current abortion protections into law.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, voted with Republicans against proceeding to passage of the bill in February.
Democrats reignited their push for legislation ensuring abortion access this week after the draft opinion was leaked and published. Schumer on Tuesdayand reiterated on Thursday that the vote is not an "abstract exercise."
"Republicans can run but they can't hide," he said. "They have two choices: They own it now, or miracle of miracles, try to begin to undo the damage."
When asked why he is not bringing the bill from Collins and Murkowski to the floor, Schumer rejected the notion of considering a more tailored measure.
"We are not looking to compromise something as vital as this," he told reporters during a press conference. "People should show where they stand. This has been American law for 50 years."
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