Move To Restore National Abortion Rights Launched By Senate Dems

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Senate Democrats are relaunching efforts to put national protections for abortion and reproductive rights more broadly back into effect at the federal level after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, a move that let state officials take their own actions on healthcare in a manner much more sweeping than before.

“Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, 1 in 3 women lost abortion access,” Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Twitter on Wednesday. “Those suffering most are low income and rural women, people of color and LGBTQ+ Americans. Senate Democrats are reintroducing the Women’s Health Protection Act today to restore the right to abortion.” This legislation already found broad support among Senate Democrats, but the effort to put these protections for abortion into federal law ran into procedural hurdles including the Senate’s filibuster rules — and the support from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), besides the chamber’s Republicans, for those provisions. The filibuster rules ordinarily demand that at least 60 Senators among the 100 in the chamber agree on an initiative before moving forward.

Thus, even a simple majority in the Senate, giving the party holding that majority control of the chamber and, broadly speaking, its committees, isn’t enough to broadly enact an agenda. For Democrats to reintroduce the legislation Schumer referenced puts the onus back on others, including the Republicans — who now also control the House, adding another difficulty in seeing this stuff enacted.

Meanwhile, litigation over the specifics of Republican officials’ abortion bans is continuing, including in Texas, where a group of women recently filed a lawsuit challenging the implementation of — and seeking judicial clarification on — exceptions for situations where the pregnant person is facing health complications. Delays in providing these exceptions amid threats of steep penalties can leave the suffering pregnant person with possibly dangerous health consequences.