Politics

Abortion rights bill fails in Senate as every LGBTQ member of Congress supported it

Kyrsten Sinema
Sen. Kyrsten SinemaPhoto: Gage Skidmore/via Wikipedia

All LGBTQ members of Congress voted for a bill to protect the right to an abortion in the U.S., but the bill still failed to pass the Senate yesterday.

The Senate voted yesterday on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which would codify the right to an abortion. Democrats wanted to get all senators on record before the Supreme Court officially issues its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center, which a leaked draft showed that the Court is going to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the federal right to an abortion.

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The law failed to pass in a 49-51 vote, with all Republicans voting against it along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Sens. Sue Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have both claimed that they’re pro-choice, even though they too voted against the WHPA.

Sixty votes were needed for the bill to overcome the Republican filibuster of the bill, and Democrats were not expecting to get 60 votes. Instead, the vote was intended to get Republicans on the record opposing the right to an abortion before the midterms.

Out Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has long been a thorn in the side of Democrats, often opposing Democratic legislation with unusual reasoning, but she voted in favor of the WHPA.

“A woman’s health care choices should be between her, her family, and her doctor,” Sinema said. “I voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act and will continue working with anyone to protect women’s ability to make decisions about their futures.”

Out Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the other LGBTQ U.S. senator, also voted for the WHPA, saying that her state of Wisconsin has an abortion ban that would go into effect the moment Roe is overturned.

“Wisconsin has a statute on the books,” she said. “It was passed in 1849. That’s how old our abortion law is. It makes it illegal and would imprison doctors. We shouldn’t be sent back to the mid 1800’s.”

The WHPA passed the House in September 2021, and all nine out U.S. representatives co-sponsored it, including Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI), Angie Craig (D-MN), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Ritchie Torres (D-NY).

The WHPA would have barred states from passing 20-week bans on abortion and also restricted states from passing laws that chip away at the right to end a pregnancy, like laws that require waiting periods or ultrasounds.

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