Anti-abortion groups considered this 20-week ban a top priority for Congress this year. But, on Monday, the Democrats blocked the bill that would’ve banned most abortions after 20 weeks.
The bill that was written by Lindsey Graham was not able to get the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster and proceed to a vote. That basically means that the bill is effectively dead in the Senate.
“The bill failed with a 51-46 vote. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were among those who voted “no.” Alabama Sen. Doug Jones (D), who recently won in a special election against Republican candidate Roy Moore, also voted “no.”
Graham’s bill had little chance of passing the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority. It sailed through the House on a party-line vote, 237-189, in October.”
All but three Democrats voted against this bill. The three who did vote for it, Joe Donnelly, Joe Manchin, and Bob Casey, are all facing tough reelection races this year.
About 20 states already have a 20-week abortion ban. Anti-abortion groups and activists say that the ban is necessary because medical advancements are making it possible for premature babies to survive.
“A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2015 found that a small minority of babies born at 22 weeks were able to survive with few health problems.”
Following Monday’s vote, Trump put out a statement saying,
“It is disappointing that despite support from a bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators, this bill was blocked from further consideration. The vote by the Senate rejects scientific fact and puts the United States out of the mainstream in the family of nations, in which only 7 out of 198 nations, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. We must defend those who cannot defend themselves. I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish, and protect life.”
Democrats argue that abortions after 20 weeks are very rare. And a ban like this would infringe on a woman’s right to make her own reproductive healthcare choices.
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Health Committee, Patty Murray, said,
“It goes against the Constitution, against medical experts, and against the rights of women across the country.”
Democrats also questioned the decision to bring this bill to a vote when it was clear that it wasn’t going to pass. Especially when there are so many pressing issues waiting — like passing a budget and a DACA fix.
A similar abortion ban failed to pass the Senate in 2015.