Manchin bucks Democrats on codifying abortion rights into federal law

Sen. Joe Manchin III announced Wednesday he would oppose his party’s push to codify abortion rights into federal law.

Mr. Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat and key swing vote, said that he would oppose the latest Democrat-led effort to save Roe v. Wade because the legislation as written is too broad.

“We’re going to be voting for a piece of legislation that I will not be voting for today,” said Mr. Manchin. “I would vote for a Roe v. Wade codification if it was today. I was hopeful for that, but I found out yesterday in [the Democratic] caucus that that wasn’t going to be.”

Mr. Manchin said that the legislation Senate Democrats were slated to bring for a vote was far outside the mainstream and would only serve to expand abortion.

The bill we have today to vote on, make no mistake … is an expansion,” he said.  “It wipes 500 state laws off the books. It expands abortion.”

The announcement comes ahead of what is expected to be a contentious, yet unsuccessful vote in the Senate. 

Democrats have been gearing up for the fight since a draft opinion leaked last week from the Supreme Court indicating that a majority of justices were in favor of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made protected abortion nationwide.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer has said the purpose of the vote is to put every single lawmaker on record ahead of the midterm elections.

“Before the day is over, every member of this body will make a choice,” said Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat. “Vote to protect the fundamental rights of women across the country or stand with five conservative justices ready to destroy these rights in one failed swoop.”

The bill being voted on would prevent state governments from enacting laws that impede abortion through outright bans or regulations on healthcare providers. Similar legislation failed in the Senate earlier this year after failing to come close to the 60-votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

Mr. Manchin, who at times has identified as pro-life, voted with Republicans in that instance to block the bill from coming to the Senate floor.


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