Topline

The Senate on Wednesday blocked the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) from moving forward, which would have enshrined the right to abortion in federal law and prevented states from imposing restrictions on procedure, leaving Democrats with few options for federal action on abortion rights, though the White House and Senate are still expected to press ahead with other narrower proposals.

Highlights

The senses. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who voted against the WHPA on Wednesday saying the bill went too far, have already introduced another bill, the Reproductive Choice Act, which would codify abortion rights but still allow states to impose certain restrictions.

This bill is unlikely to move forward as 17 reproductive rights organizations said in a letter that the legislation “would not protect the right to abortion” as some harsh restrictions could still be allowed – such as bans 15-week abortion plan — and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he has no plans to take it back.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told ABC News on Tuesday that he was negotiating with Collins on updating the Reproductive Choice Act to make it more bipartisan, which may have a better chance of getting one vote and garner more support than the WHPA, though it’s still a long way off he would get the 60 Senate votes needed to pass.

Democratic lawmakers will also likely try to vote on narrower proposals that address specific abortion-related issues and may be more likely to pass, the Washington Post reports — like writing rape and incest exemptions into law — with lawmakers saying Wednesday’s WHPA vote is the first of ‘many’ Congresses that will tackle abortion rights .

The White House is considering executive actions on abortion, Reuters reports, such as ordering the Food and Drug Administration to make medical abortion more widely available and making it possible to order abortion pills online.

The Biden administration is also considering asking the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to let Americans use federal Medicaid funds for travel expenses if they travel to another state to get away. abortion, reports Reuters.

crucial quote

“I’m thinking of the old adage: It’s important to be caught trying, and we’re going to try very hard to do everything we can to highlight that,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill .) Job on the efforts of legislators in the area of ​​abortion rights.

Large number

58%. That’s the share of U.S. adults who said they support federal legislation that legalizes abortion, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll taken after the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting the court will overturn Roe, whose 82% of Democrats.

Chief Spokesperson

Despite Collins and Murkowski’s abortion legislation, most Senate Republicans have strongly opposed federal efforts for abortion rights. “With this bill, the Democrats … are trying to take this problem away from the people, from the states, and impose their radical abortion agenda on the American people as a whole,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

Key context

The WHPA failed to advance on Wednesday in a 49-51 vote, after Schumer forced a vote on the bill on Wednesday when it was clear the legislation would fail. Senators previously blocked the legislation in February in a 46-48 vote, after the House passed the WHPA in January. Congress refocused its attention on abortion rights after Policy leaked a draft opinion last week showing a majority of Supreme Court justices favor overturning Roe v. Wade in a case concerning the legality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. Although the draft decision, from February, is not yet final – the official decision will probably be published in June –Policy reported on Wednesday that five judges still favor overturning the 1973 ruling, suggesting that Roe is still likely to be struck down.

Further reading

Abortion rights bill fails Senate – again – ahead of Supreme Court ruling (Forbes)

A majority of Americans want Congress to legalize abortion rights, poll finds (Forbes)

Here’s what will happen if the Supreme Court overturns Roe V. Wade (Forbes)

Seeking to spark an uprising, Democrats propose abortion in the Senate (Washington Post)

Senate to hold showdown vote on bill protecting nationwide abortion access (ABC News)

Biden is considering executive orders and new funds for abortion (Reuters)

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