Senators Attempt to Pass Compromised Abortion Access Law

(Montpelier, Vermont, PD)

After the Supreme Court’s verdict on Roe v. Wade, US senators are trying to codify abortion access into federal law. A bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation that aims to protect abortion access up to a limited extent.

While some Republicans are supporting the legislation, it is still unlikely to pass through the Senate filibuster. Democrats only want to pass full-fledged abortion legislation that grants sweeping abortion access across the country.

Bipartisan Senators Attempting to Protect Abortion Rights

Democratic Senators Tim Kaine and Kyrsten Sinema co-authored the legislation with their Republican colleagues, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

The bill named the Reproductive Freedom for All Act aims to protect federal abortion rights up to fetal viability and when the mother’s life is in danger.

However, the legislation neither mentions the viability timeline, nor the factors which would determine the mother’s health; so the decision to carry out abortions will rest with the medical practitioner of the pregnant mother.

Similarly, the legislation also gives universal access to contraceptives, amid fears that some conservative states might end up banning them as well. Furthermore, medical practitioners will be given a choice to opt-out of abortion if it goes against their religious beliefs.

According to Senator Kaine, states should not intervene too much in the pre-viability stage of pregnancy, as it puts an “undue burden” on the pregnant mother.

While Kaine argued for giving more legislative rights to states in the post-viability stage, he noted no state should have the authority to stop a woman from abortion in life-threatening cases.

Confused Democrats Divided on Bipartisan Abortion Bill

Democrats have realized all their partisan efforts to codify Roe are bound to fail, due to the equally divided Senate. So, they are trying to gather the support of at least ten Republicans to protect abortion access up to some extent. 

In May, Senate Democrats failed to pass abortion rights legislation when they only managed to get the support of 49 senators. Sen. Joe Manchin also sided with all pro-life Republicans.

Meanwhile, Kaine acknowledged even a bipartisan bill would not be able to pass the Senate filibuster easily.

However, he suggested even if the bill fails to pass the Senate, it will be an important step in the abortion conversation; it depicts the message that senators can work together even on highly partisan issues.

Reportedly, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is unlikely to bring the legislation for a vote, due to the rising resistance against the bipartisan bill with the Democrat Party.

Pro-choice Senator Elizabeth Warren, who also schooled Biden for not protecting abortion access, also declined to vote for the bipartisan legislation.

Democrats want to ignite the emotions of the pro-choice voters further before the midterm elections, which will not be possible if they manage to pass legislation with the help of Republican senators.

This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.