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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted against passing a bill that would have legalized the right to have an abortion, as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks.
U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas voted against the bill, which failed to win a simple majority because Senate Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined 50 House Republicans to oppose it.
“It promotes abortion on a scale far beyond Roe v. Wade and far beyond what the vast majority of the American people are comfortable with,” Cornyn said in remarks to the Senate before the vote.
“It’s a sweeping abortion bill, which unfortunately reflects where Democrats are today,” Cruz told Fox News over the weekend.
Democrats have countered that abortion rights are accepted in mainstream American society.
“The bill before this chamber is simple: it would codify what Americans already believe, which is that the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion belongs to women, not elected politicians,” the leader said. of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Charles Schumer of New York.
The renewed urgency behind the vote comes a week after Politico reported on a leaked majority opinion draft overruling Roe vs. Wade. The Supreme Court upheld the authenticity of the draft but warned that it did not necessarily reflect a final vote. If the High Court moves to terminate Roe, Texas has a “trigger law” that would bar the proceedings in the state.
Democratic leaders say their top priority is getting senators up to speed on abortion before the fall midterms.
“Every American will see the position of every senator,” Schumer said on Sunday, according to Reuters.
Cornyn and Cruz have made their anti-abortion stances central to their political careers over the years. But what awaits them if Roe is unseated — particularly if Republicans take control of the Senate next year — is whether they would support a federal ban on abortion rather than leaving the issue to state legislatures.
“I don’t think it’s really an appropriate subject for Congress to pass national legislation,” Cornyn said, according to CNN.
Cruz was less clear on a federal ban, telling NBC News that “contested political issues” should be resolved by “democratically elected bodies.”
“I have supported many federal bills, and I’m sure there will be more federal pieces of legislation that will be considered,” Cruz said.
In a sign of heightened tension surrounding the Politico revelations, Cornyn joined Democratic Delaware Senator Chris Coons in pushing for a bill that would provide family members of U.S. Supreme Court justices with a increased security protection. It passed unanimously.
In September 2021, the House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in response to Texas’ abortion-restricting law that went into effect September 1. This bill passed along party lines among members of the Texas U.S. House, with the exception of U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, who is his party’s only anti-abortion member in that chamber .
This bill failed in a procedural Senate vote on February 28, with Cruz and Cornyn opposing the legislation.
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