Senator Joe Machin Will Not Vote for Abortion Rights Bill

The Democratic Party is not expected to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act


West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announced he will not support a bill regulating abortion rights on a federal level.

The news made Manchin the first member of the Democratic Party to oppose the legislation, which came up for a vote after a leaked draft opinion indicated the Supreme Court is likely to reverse Roe v Wade.

Manchin told reporters the Women’s Health Protection Act “expands abortion” and that while he would “vote for Roe v. Wade codification if it was today,” he could not support the proposal.

“It’s just disappointing that we’re going to be voting on a piece of legislation which I would not vote for today,” the senator said. Manchin said that he has always been “pro-life” but believes abortion should be permitted in certain circumstances.

“Democrats’ efforts were already expected to fail before today due to the Senate’s filibuster that effectively requires 60 votes for the bill,” reports Business Insider. “The bill was passed by the House last year.”

The Senate is expected to vote on the proposal on May 11 despite its predicted failure.

“Tens of millions of women are watching what will happen to the rights they’ve relied on for decades, and all of us will have to answer for this vote for the rest of our time in public office,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer during a speech from the floor on May 10.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey announced on May 10 that he would support the bill despite previous opposition.

The senator is the son of Robert P. Casey of the 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Casey has described himself as “pro-life” but said he felt obligated to act against a possible federal ban on abortions.

“In the nearly three months since the Senate last voted on the Women’s Health Protection Act, the circumstances around the entire debate on abortion have changed,” Casey said in a statement. “In light of the leaked Supreme Court decision draft 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 of the moment is: do you support a categorical ban on abortion?”

According to the Women’s Health Protection Act, “abortion is essential health care and one of the safest medical procedures in the United States” and is “central to people’s ability to participate equally in the economic and social life” of the nation.

The measure would ensure a health care provider’s right to offer and perform abortions and prohibit restrictions on abortion prior to fetal viability at 24 weeks – effective blocking any bans individually passed by the states. The act would go into immediate effect if passed.

Every Republican in the evenly divided Senate is expected to vote against the bill.

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