Biden after GOP vote presses voters to elect pro-abortion rights lawmakers

Joe Biden
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
President Joe Biden speaks in in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

The White House on Wednesday reacted to a failed Senate vote on abortion legislation by encouraging Americans to elect more pro-abortion rights lawmakers to the state and federal levels.  

“Republicans in Congress – not one of whom voted for this bill – have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives,” President Biden said in a statement issued shortly after the vote.
“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 said.  

The legislation considered by the Senate would have protected various abortion procedures across the nation, including by preventing governments from limiting a health care provider’s ability to prescribe certain drugs.

It also would prevent the government from requiring that a patient make “medically unnecessary in-person visits” before an abortion and disclose why they are seeking an abortion.  

Vice President Harris, who presided over Wednesday’s vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, echoed the Biden message.  

“This vote clearly suggests that the Senate is not where the majority of Americans are on this issue,” she told reporters on Capitol Hill.  

“It also makes clear that a priority for all who care about this issue, the priority should be to elect pro-choice leaders at the local, the state and the federal level because what we are seeing around this country are extremist Republican leaders who are seeking to criminalize and punish women for making decisions about their own bodies,” she said.  

The vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act failed Wednesday afternoon, as Republican senators and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted to block consideration of the bill.  

The result was expected, but Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) insisted on putting the abortion rights bill to a vote after a draft opinion that leaked last week suggested the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade.  

Biden did not mention Manchin’s opposition to the Women’s Health Protection Act in the statement on Wednesday.  

The White House’s reaction also underscores the limits of the administration’s authorities in pushing back on state efforts to restrict abortion access, which are expected to accelerate once the Supreme Court issues a final opinion.  

Biden has consistently pushed for Roe v. Wade to be codified into law, but the 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate has made that impossible.  

The White House says that its lawyers and the Gender Policy Council are working to develop a policy response to the forthcoming Supreme Court decision.  

“We will continue to defend women’s constitutional rights to make private reproductive choices as recognized in Roe v. Wade nearly half a century ago, and my Administration will continue to explore the measures and tools at our disposal to do just that,” Biden said in the statement Wednesday.  

Tags Abortion Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kamala Harris Roe v. Wade Supreme Court

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