Casey says he will support legislation to codify abortion rights
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is anti-abortion, said Tuesday he would support legislation to codify abortion protections, a development that comes one week after a leaked Supreme Court draft ruling indicated it would eliminate the national right to abortion.
In a statement, Casey said he would be voting “yes” to have debate on the Women’s Health Protection Act, a vote expected for Wednesday, and would support the bill should it move to a final vote.
“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,” he said.
“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? During my time in public office, I have never voted for — nor do I support — such a ban,” he added.
The Women’s Health Protection Act has statutory protections for health care providers carrying out abortions and individuals seeking to have one done.
That legislation was endorsed by the White House last year, with Casey and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) the only two Democrats who were not co-sponsors of the Senate version.
Earlier this year, Casey had voted “yes” to advance debate on the legislation, saying in a statement at the time, “the question before the U.S. Senate on this vote is whether the Senate will proceed to debate the Women’s Health Protection Act,” noting the recent rulings by the Supreme Court and “the Republican Party’s clear and unrelenting use of this issue as a political weapon.”
However, despite Casey’s support, the bill was stuck in limbo given a lack of Republican support. Manchin has not said whether his position has changed now that Democrats have renewed their push.
A final Supreme Court ruling on the case brought by a Mississippi abortion clinic challenging a state law restricting abortion is expected within the next two months.
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