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Democrat-led effort in Senate to codify Roe v. Wade fails as Manchin sides with Republicans in opposition


On Monday evening, the U.S. Senate voted 48-46 against starting debate on legislation that would codify national access to abortion and supersede existing state-level pro-life legislation and even the precedent of Roe v. Wade.

Quick Facts

On Monday evening, the U.S. Senate failed to overcome a GOP filibuster in a close vote, with six senators opting not to vote. As a result, the Women’s Health Protection Act did not proceed to debate or a floor vote. The  legislation, which has already passed the House of Representatives, would “codify Roe v. Wade into law” by establishing a fundamental right to abortion-on-demand and would supersede existing pro-life legislation passed by states.

The bill was opposed by multiple Democrats representing conservative-leaning areas, including Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., who previously bucked calls to eliminate the legislative filibuster on election reform legislation championed by the Democrats. Pro-choice Republicans, including Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also voted against the bill and instead advocated for a separate approach that would allow health providers with religious objections to opt out of performing abortions.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., applauded the Senate’s bipartisan decision in a statement, first explaining what was at stake with the vote: “Tonight, the hard-left formally kicked the old slogan of ‘safe, legal, and rare’ to the curb and embraced pro-abortion politics. This legislation will make Planned Parenthood’s army of lobbyists happy, but it’s going to alienate a lot of Americans.”

Furthermore, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Democrats of trying to support a “radical” policy to appease their far-left base. “Yet again our colleagues wish to demonstrate that the radical left fringe runs today’s Democratic Party,” he said in a statement. 

Montana Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., also responded to the implications of the bill in a statement, “It’s extreme. It’s an egregious violation of the most fundamental of all human rights, and that is the right to life.”

As the sole Democrat to vote against the legislation in the Senate, Joe Manchin once again stepped up to thwart the Democrats’ legislative priorities. When pressed for comment, his spokesman Sam Runyon stated, “Senator Manchin’s position has not changed.” 

Since Joe Manchin voted against the elimination of the legislative filibuster in January, the abortion bill would have required at least 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles in order to be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote, meaning it would need the support of all 50 Democrats as well as 10 Republicans. Given that six senators didn’t even show up for a vote to kick off debate on the pro-abortion bill, it seems likely that both Democrats and Republicans understood that the bill stood no chance of passing in a divided 50-50 Senate.

This bill would have effectively made the right to abortion the law of the land, and so the pro-life movement can praise God and breathe a sigh of relief that this radical legislation didn’t even make it to a floor vote and is effectively dead for the time being.

Among other things, the “Women’s Health Protection Act” would have overridden all state restrictions on abortion, including the Texas heartbeat bill, and also would have instructed courts to liberally interpret a woman’s health as everything related to “physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age.” The effect of that would have given the go-ahead for doctors to legally perform abortions at any point during a pregnancy up until the moment just before birth. The bill also would have removed conscience objections for healthcare providers, which would have forced doctors and nurses to perform abortions against their religious beliefs and against their will.

With this legislation and the near-uniform support of it by Democratic politicians, it is clear that the pro-abortion movement has officially morphed from viewing abortion as a being an unfortunate necessity that must remain “safe, legal, and rare” to completely embracing a radical death culture that has no qualms with snuffing out any unborn baby who is deemed inconvenient, imperfect, or unvaluable to society.

And for those who still believe that this is a “women’s health” issue, be aware that this movement won’t stop with abortion. Abortion is part of a well-underway eugenics movement that has already been extended to end-of-life care and assisted suicide in many states. And make no doubt, these eugenicists would have no issue with extending their movement to encompass not just the elderly and the terminal but those young and middle-aged people deemed too sickly, too disabled, too expensive, or too unproductive to remain as living members of society. It’s already happening in other western countries, where simply being depressed can make you eligible for assisted suicide.

Christians must keep this new reality in mind and practice strong discernment when deciding who to vote for in future elections because the choice is no longer just between pro-life and pro-abortion — it is between pro-life and pro-death.

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