WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of senators is pushing for compromise legislation to restore access to abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a Senate majority opposing the decision to put on record. A long shot attempt.
While the bill is not expected to pass — and even unlikely to get a vote — legislation introduced Monday by two Republicans and two Democrats aims to send a signal to state legislatures and the public that A majority of the Senate supports codifying Roe. , even if they don’t get the 50-50 votes needed to pass it in the Senate.
“We still think there is utility in showing that there is a bipartisan majority that would like Roe to be codified,” even if the bill doesn’t have enough votes, said Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, who introduced legislation with Democratic Sen. did. Arizona’s Kirsten Cinema and Republican Sense. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
The law would prohibit most state regulations that prevent access to abortion before the viability of the fetus, which is usually considered to be around 24 weeks. This would allow for state restrictions after that point, as long as the mother’s life is protected. It would also protect access to contraception, with Justice Clarence Thomas suggesting in a consensus opinion for a decision to overturn Roe that decisions guaranteeing access to contraception and other rights may need to be reconsidered.
The bipartisan bill is narrower than legislation favored by most Democrats—passed by the House but blocked by Senate Republicans—that would have protected abortion rights and was allowed in the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, Collins and Murkowski of West Virginia all voted against that bill, despite their opposition to overturning Row.
Kaine said he felt like Democrats had “left the votes on the table” after that effort. He said he was encouraged by a new law designed to reduce gun violence in the House and Senate after the horrific shootings in Texas and New York.
There were “not even 60 votes” for that law until members decided that inaction was no longer an option, he said.
Democrats would need 10 Republican votes to overcome a filibuster and get a bill through the Senate 50-50, but only Collins and Murkowski have publicly supported abortion rights.
By reversing the row, the court has allowed states to impose stricter abortion limits, including many that were previously deemed unconstitutional. The decision is expected to ban abortion in almost half of the states.
Already, many GOP-controlled states have moved swiftly to prohibit or prevent abortion, while Democrat-controlled states have sought to champion access. Voters now regard abortion as one of the most pressing issues facing the country, a shift in priorities that Democrats hope will reshape the political landscape in their favor for the midterm elections.
A moderate, Kaine and Cinema’s support comes, as some activists have accused President Joe Biden and other top Democrats of failing to respond adequately to the decision.
Kaine said a sense of urgency has grown since the June decision, and suggested that he or others could at some point go to the floor and request a vote, an effort that is unlikely to succeed, But as a majority of Americans may draw attention to the bill, they say they disagree with the Supreme Court ruling.
“People are paying attention to it,” Kaine said.