NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

Joe Manchin joins Republicans to defeat Women’s Health Protection Act in U.S. Senate

Leg­is­la­tion that would cod­i­fy Roe v. Wade into law has been blocked in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate thanks to the oppo­si­tion of the entire Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus along with West Vir­gini­a’s Joe Manchin, who calls him­self a Demo­c­rat and belongs to the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus, but rarely behaves like a Democrat.

The bill, known as the Wom­en’s Health Pro­tec­tion Act, had been expect­ed to get fil­i­bus­tered. Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Chuck Schumer staged the vote any­way to put Repub­li­cans on record as opposed to repro­duc­tive rights. Even Sen­a­tors Lisa Murkows­ki and Susan Collins, who say they favor abor­tion care in some cir­cum­stances, vot­ed to block the bill, which just goes to show that they aren’t real­ly in favor of let­ting peo­ple make their own repro­duc­tive health decisions.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as follows:

Vot­ing Yea for Repro­duc­tive Rights: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell (WA), Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (ID), Lisa Murkows­ki and Dan Sul­li­van (AK), Steve Daines (MT)

A total of fifty-one sen­a­tors vot­ed against con­sid­er­ing the bill, while forty-nine vot­ed in favor. The fifty-one opposed were Manchin and every Republican.

The White House respond­ed to the vote prompt­ly by issu­ing a state­ment from Pres­i­dent Joe Biden express­ing his pro­found disappointment.

Said the President:

“Once again – as fun­da­men­tal rights are at risk at the Supreme Court – Sen­ate Repub­li­cans have blocked pas­sage of the Women’s Health Pro­tec­tion Act, a bill that affir­ma­tive­ly pro­tects access to repro­duc­tive health care. This fail­ure to act comes at a time when women’s con­sti­tu­tion­al rights are under unprece­dent­ed attack – and it runs counter to the will of the major­i­ty of Amer­i­can people.”

“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,” the Pres­i­dent added.

“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.”

“The pro­tec­tions that the Women’s Health Pro­tec­tion Act would ensure are essen­tial to the health, safe­ty, and progress of our nation.”

“While this leg­is­la­tion did not pass today, my Admin­is­tra­tion will not stop fight­ing to pro­tect access to women’s repro­duc­tive care. We will con­tin­ue to defend women’s con­sti­tu­tion­al rights to make pri­vate repro­duc­tive choic­es as rec­og­nized in Roe v. Wade near­ly half a cen­tu­ry ago, and my Admin­is­tra­tion will con­tin­ue to explore the mea­sures and tools at our dis­pos­al to do just that.”

Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris, who presided over the vote in the Sen­ate and announced the result, also relayed her unhap­pi­ness with the outcome.

“The major­i­ty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple believe in defend­ing a wom­an’s right, her choice to decide what hap­pens to her own body,” said the Vice President.

“And this vote clear­ly sug­gests that the Sen­ate is not where the major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans are on this issue,” she told reporters in remarks fol­low­ing the vote.

“It also makes clear that a pri­or­i­ty for all who care about this issue — a pri­or­i­ty should be to elect pro-choice lead­ers at the local, the state, and the fed­er­al lev­el, because what we are see­ing around this coun­try are extrem­ist Repub­li­can lead­ers who are seek­ing to crim­i­nal­ize and pun­ish women.”

“Repro­duc­tive rights will be on the bal­lot in Novem­ber,” vowed DNC Chair Jaime Har­ri­son. “The Repub­li­can Party’s extrem­ism knows no bounds. They’ve made clear a fed­er­al ban on abor­tion is on the table should they take pow­er. And across the coun­try, Repub­li­can state leg­is­la­tors are poised to weaponize the antic­i­pat­ed far-right Supreme Court deci­sion to threat­en access to birth con­trol and IVF, and even crim­i­nal­ize repro­duc­tive health care. This is what’s at stake.”

“The major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans oppose this extreme agen­da. Repub­li­cans can­not be allowed to impose their ultra-MAGA wish­list on our country.”

“We must elect more Democ­rats in Novem­ber in order to pro­tect the fun­da­men­tal rights of all Amer­i­cans. From now until Elec­tion Day, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee will work to do just that. And we will hold every last MAGA Repub­li­can account­able for their all-out assault on women’s health and for their con­tin­ued efforts to strip away the rights of Americans.”

“Today, every sen­a­tor was pre­sent­ed with a choice: to defend Amer­i­cans’ right to pri­va­cy and abor­tion rights, or to put politi­cians in the exam room to dic­tate the repro­duc­tive deci­sions of America’s women,” said Sen­a­tor Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

“The choice was easy. As I cast my vote in sup­port of the Women’s Health Pro­tec­tion Act, I thought of patients and providers unset­tled by a near future where we could lose the abil­i­ty to make our most inti­mate deci­sions for our­selves. In just a few weeks, five unelect­ed and unac­count­able Supreme Court jus­tices are expect­ed to act as a super leg­is­la­ture to rob Amer­i­cans’ of our right to legal abor­tion and con­trol over our own bodies.”

“It’s hor­ri­fy­ing and out­ra­geous to all who believe in a free soci­ety and who reject gov­ern­ment encroach­ment into our per­son­al lives. Today’s vote is impor­tant because in our democ­ra­cy cit­i­zens need to know where we stand on impor­tant issues. I believe Ore­go­ni­ans and the Amer­i­can peo­ple do not want MAGA politi­cians telling sur­vivors of rape and incest that they must stay pregnant.”

“We do not want doc­tors to fear crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion for deliv­er­ing the care that pro­tects the health and life of their patients. Amer­i­cans do not want politi­cians and judges in our exam rooms and bedrooms.”

“It’s up to all of us who believe in free­dom and lib­er­ty from an over­reach­ing gov­ern­ment to cre­ate the polit­i­cal change that pre­vents this night­mare vision from becom­ing our real­i­ty. This week­end, Amer­i­cans will gath­er to speak out.”

“We are in a strug­gle with an extrem­ist minor­i­ty that wants to con­trol you and your life. I will nev­er give up the fight for pro­tect­ing and pro­mot­ing access to health care, includ­ing safe and legal abor­tion care.”

“Here’s my mes­sage to Repub­li­cans: women will not for­get your cru­el­ty,” said Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray of Wash­ing­ton. “I ran for the Sen­ate because of the Supreme Court. I ran for the Sen­ate because I watched Ani­ta Hill’s tes­ti­mo­ny where it was plain as day that women’s voic­es weren’t being heard.”

“Where a woman was bom­bard­ed with offen­sive ques­tions — from a Com­mit­tee full of men— and then a man — who didn’t answer ques­tions on Roe v. Wade and who didn’t even both­er to lis­ten to Ms. Hill’s tes­ti­mo­ny — ascend­ed to the high­est court in the land to make deci­sions for women all across the country.”

“And we’re see­ing how that’s play­ing out right now. That just wasn’t okay with me. So I took the anger, the frus­tra­tion, the dri­ve that I felt — and I made it to the Unit­ed States Sen­ate. So mark my words: women won’t just remem­ber — they will be out in the streets, reg­is­ter­ing to vote, run­ning for office. They will be cease­less in their activism. I know because I was one of those women back in ’92. I’m a Sen­a­tor now: and I’m lead­ing this fight. We are going to make our voic­es and our votes heard — and we are going to win because there is no oth­er option.”

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