Sen. Joe Manchin once more broke with his party after a Senate vote on Wednesday (May 11) struck down a bill constructed by the Democratic Party designed to introduce protection for legal abortion nationwide. Manchin’s vote boosted the GOP filibuster of the bill, bringing a new level to the national debate regarding abortion rights.
In the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting that the landmark Roe v. Wade decision would be overturned, the Democrats in the House moved to advance the Women’s Health Protection Act through the Senate. It was expected to meet resistance from Republicans, and all 50 GOP senators voted to strike down the bill with Manchin being the lone Democrat.
Manchin, a Democrat representing West Virginia, is something of a party outlier and is only a member in name if one considers his recent voting record that seemingly sides with the opposing party. In a statement offered after the vote, President Joe Biden used pointed language that frames the GOP as obstructing progress along with a hint to the upcoming midterm elections, which are expected to be contested.
“Republicans in Congress — not one of whom voted for this bill — have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives,” Biden said. “To protect the right to choose, voters need to elect more pro-choice senators this November, and return a pro-choice majority to the House. If they do, Congress can pass this bill in January, and put it on my desk, so I can sign it into law.”
Vice President Kamala Harris also offered a statement after the vote.
“[T]he majority of the American people believe in defending a woman’s right, her choice to decide what happens to her own body. And this vote clearly suggests that the Senate is not where the majority of Americans are on this issue,” reads a portion of the statement from Harris.