Senate

Manchin to oppose Democratic bill guaranteeing abortion access

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday said he would oppose a Democratic bill to guarantee abortion access nationwide, indicating that it was too broad to get his vote. 

Manchin’s decision, which he had kept a tight lid on all week, means the bill will fall short of even getting 50 votes in the Senate, where it will be opposed by all Republicans. It would need 60 votes to advance. 

“We’re going to be voting for a piece of legislation that I will not be voting for today,” Manchin told reporters. 

“But I would vote for a Roe v. Wade codification if it was today. I was hopeful for that, but I found out yesterday in caucus that that wasn’t going to be,” Manchin added. 

Manchin was also the only Democrat who voted against the bill earlier this year, but Wednesday’s vote comes in the wake of a leaked Supreme Court draft that, if the court’s final decision, would strike down Roe v. Wade.

The draft decision has supercharged the fight over abortion on Capitol Hill, with Democrats pledging to use it as a key midterm issue. 

Democrats made changes to the bill from earlier this year to try to assuage members of their caucus. In a win for that effort, holdout Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced this week that he supported the substance of the revised bill. 

They removed a nonbinding findings section that, among other provisions, referred to restrictions on abortion as perpetuating “white supremacy” and called them “a tool of gender oppression.”

The revised bill would still prevent governments from limiting a health care provider’s ability to prescribe certain drugs or from providing immediate abortion services if a delay would risk a patient’s health, according to the Congressional Research Service. 

The bill also prevents governments from being able to require that a patient make “medically unnecessary in-person visits” before an abortion, and would also prevent the government from requiring patients to disclose why they are seeking an abortion. 

The bill also broadly would prevent governments from enacting any law that would create similar limits or that “singles out the provision of abortion services, health care providers who provide abortion services, or facilities in which abortion services are provided” and “impedes access to abortion services.” 

Tags Bob Casey Joe Manchin Roe v. Wade

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