Senate strikes down bill looking to codify abortion rights into federal law
- The Senate on Wednesday struck down a bill looking to codify abortion rights into federal law
- Democrats, including Biden, decried the decision
- Abortion rights have taken centre stage with SCOTUS poised to overturn Roe v Wade
A Democrat-led bill seeking to codify the right to abortion as a federal law was struck down by the Senate on Wednesday after failing to reach the 60-vote mark required for the passage of a bill into law.
Expectedly, the bill - The Women's Health Protection Act - was passed in the Democrat-controlled House. Subsequently, Democratic lawmakers, primarily women, marched across the Capitol to the Senate, chanting "my body, my decision" in a bid to try and get the bill passed.
However, the bill failed to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate after a 51-49 decision saw it fall short of the minimum threshold.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who presided over the vote, expressed her disappointment at the outcome, saying, "Sadly, the Senate failed to stand in defense of a woman's right to make decisions over her own body."
President Joe Biden also expressed his disappointment via a statement, saying, "As fundamental rights are at risk at the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans have blocked passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act. They have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives."
"To protect the right to choose, voters need to elect more pro-choice senators this November, and return a pro-choice majority to the House. If they do, Congress can pass this bill in January, and put it on my desk, so I can sign it into law," Biden added, calling for a change during the midterm elections in November.
The development comes at a time when the US Supreme Court, as per a leaked draft opinion, is poised to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade decision, a move that would significantly weaken abortion rights in the US.
While an overturning of the landmark decision will not result in the outright criminalisation of abortion across the nation, it will allow states to take calls on whether to ban abortions.