Activists for the legality of abortion in the United States suffered a setback on Wednesday after the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA, for its acronym in English), a bill led by Democrats that would codify the right to abortion, was not approved by the Senate.
According to international media, the WHPA, which had been approved by the House of Representatives, was rejected with 49 votes in favor and 21 against in the Upper House (that is, the Senate). All Democratic senators voted in favor of the legislation, except for Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who joined Republican Republican senators in opposing the bill that required at least 60 votes to advance.
The vote came after a leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court suggested it was on the verge of overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade, the constitutional protection on the right to abortion. The leak sparked protests across the country. Although the Supreme Court recognized the authenticity of the draft, it stated that the document does not represent its final position.
Democrats are believed to be trying to make abortion rights a major issue in this year’s midterm elections, as they feel Republicans have been favored this cycle. For their part, Republicans have criticized the bill, saying it “went further than most Americans would want to go on abortion rights.” Minutes after the vote, President Joe Biden issued a statement.
This inaction comes at a time when the constitutional rights of women are under unprecedented attack, and it goes against the will of the majority of the American people. We will continue to uphold the constitutional rights of women to make private reproductive decisions, 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.
In accordance with CNN, Republican-led states anticipated the conservative-majority Supreme Court to strike down Roe v. Wade, enacting so-called “trigger laws” that restrict abortion and would take effect once abortion protections are revoked.