On May 11, the U.S. Senate failed to advance a Democrat-led bill that would enshrine broad protections for legal abortion nationwidea vote triggered by a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that indicates Roe v. Wade will likely be overturned, NBC News reported.
The Women's Health Protection Act, which has passed the House, won 49 votes, falling far short of the 60 senators needed to break a filibuster.
All 50 Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, voted against proceeding to debate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called it "one of the most consequential" votes the Senate has held in decades. "For MAGA Republicans, this has always been about making abortion illegal everywhere," he said in a floor speech.
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Kierra Johnson was among those who criticized the vote. "Once again, conservative political extremists and Senators from both parties blocked a vote on, let alone passage of the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA)," she said in a release Windy City Times received.
She continued, "Passage of the WHPA is vital to our communities' health and people's bodily autonomy especially considering last week's news that Justice Samuel Alito's draft majority opinion portends the Supreme Court reversing the longstanding precedent, Roe v. Wade. A full 69% of people in this country disagree with overturning Roe, erasing 50 years of abortion access, critical health care, for which our communities fought hard and upon which we rely. The research is clear: where abortion access is restricted, the greatest harms occur to Black and Brown people, LGBTQ people, people living in poverty and people living in rural areas. Alito's reasoning threatens important case precedents impacting LGBTQ people, people of color, and others whose rights the people won after the Constitution was ratified."
Before the vote, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) was among the organizations calling for the act's passage. "The release of the Supreme Court's draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson is a wakeup call to get off the sidelines. We urge the Senate to pass the Women's Health Protection Act, which would be a vital step to protect access to reproductive health, a critically important right for millions of women and LGBTQ+ people — including queer women, many non-binary people, and transgender men," said HRC Interim President Joni Madison.