Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday reaffirmed his opposition to a radical Democratic abortion bill that is going nowhere fast in the United States Senate.
Democrats have scheduled a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act later today, a bill that would codify the abortion rights established by Roe v. Wade and override state pro-life laws restricting abortion access or regulating abortions for health and safety. The bill needs 60 votes to overcome an expected filibuster by Republicans, though Democrats may struggle to find even 50 votes in favor.
Manchin, who claims to be a pro-life Democrat, told reporters he would not vote for the WHPA, arguing it was too broad.
“We’re going to be voting for a piece of legislation that I will not be voting for today,” Manchin said.
“But I would vote for a Roe v. Wade codification if it was today. I was hopeful for that, but I found out yesterday in caucus that that wasn’t going to be,” he added.
“To me, that would be the reasonable, rational thing to do. The bill we have today to vote on, Women’s Health Protection Act … make no mistake, it is not Roe v. Wade codification, it is an expansion. It wipes 500–500 state laws off the books. It expands abortion,” he said.
Democrats have demanded federal action to protect abortion rights in the wake of a leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion that indicates the court will soon overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has insisted on a show vote for the WHPA even though everyone in the Senate understands that it will not pass. He has said that Republicans need to be put on the record opposing abortion rights, calling this vote “one of the most consequential we will take in decades.”
“All of us will have to answer for this vote for the rest of our time in public office,” Schumer said in a floor speech Wednesday morning. “Before the day is over, every member of this body will make a choice [to] stand with women to protect their freedoms or stand with MAGA Republicans to take our country into a dark and repressive future.”
A bipartisan bill that would more narrowly codify Roe while permitting states to regulate abortions for health and safety and enact conscience protections for Catholic hospitals has been introduced by Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Although Manchin is likely to support that bill and it could even get support from 52 senators, Schumer has declined to give it a vote.
Manchin said the Senate should not overreach on an issue that is “extremely political” and could alienate voters.
“We should not be dividing this country further than we’re already divided,” he said. “And it’s really the politics of Congress that’s dividing the country. It’s not the people. They’re telling us what they want. And it’s just disappointing that we’re going to be voting on a piece of legislation which I will not vote for today. But I would vote for Roe v. Wade codification if it was today, I was hopeful for that. But I found out yesterday in caucus that wasn’t going to be.”