Senate to vote next week on protecting abortion rights

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., center, speaks during a May 5 news conference about next week’s vote to codify Roe v. Wade on Capitol Hill in Washington.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate plans to vote next week on legislation to codify abortion rights into federal law as Democrats mount their response to the Supreme Court’s draft opinion leaked this week that seemingly would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

The procedural vote, scheduled for Wednesday, will mostly be symbolic. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., does not have the necessary 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster and move ahead with the bill. But he said members of both parties need to go on the record about where they stand.

“Next week’s vote will be one of the most important we ever take because it deals with one of the most personal and difficult decisions a woman ever has to make in her life,” Schumer said Thursday.

He said bringing a bill to the Senate floor, after a similar measure failed in February, is “not an abstract exercise.” The House passed legislation protecting abortion rights in September.

The Democratic leader is hoping to put each senator on record on abortion rights as both parties deal with the political fallout from the draft opinion leaked Monday that, if finalized, would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The high court’s final ruling, in a case from Mississippi, is expected this summer.

Lacking the support needed to change Senate rules and pass an abortion bill on a simple majority vote, Democratic leaders have signaled that they intend to take the fight to voters during the campaign leading to November’s elections. Schumer noted that Republicans have been working for decades to bring about the end of Roe v. Wade.

“Come next week, Senate Republicans will have to answer for everything they’ve done over the years to embolden the hard right’s hostility against a woman’s choice,” Schumer said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who joined pro-abortion activists in protest on the Supreme Court steps Tuesday, reiterated how crucial it is for electeds to take a stand.

“It’s about pressing everyone at every level of government, federal, state and local, to acknowledge what it will mean if women have to resort to back-alley abortions ... to get access to a medical procedure that has been guaranteed as a matter of constitutional right for nearly half a century,” Warren said Thursday.

GOP lawmakers have focused their ire on the rare leak of the draft opinion, calling it a brazen attempt to pressure the justices into changing the ruling.

Urging the justices to stick to their process, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promised that GOP senators would “have their backs, no matter what.”

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(1) comment

Judd Grossman

Leaking decision - bad

Draft decision - well thought out

Intimidating judges - bad

Voting on abortion policy - good

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