The Democratic legislation to enshrine abortion rights into federal law looks set to fail in the Senate this afternoon by a vote of 49-51, after the West Virginia senator Joe Manchin said he would cross the aisle and join Republicans to vote no.
Manchin, a moderate Democrat, has been speaking with reporters in the Senate hallway, saying he believes the legislation as presented “goes too far”.
“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 wasn’t going to be,” he said.
The legislation would codify the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that gave constitutional protection to abortion rights and, crucially, prevent states from acting to remove or alter those protections in the future.
Manchin also voted against the women’s health protection act of 2021 earlier this year, so his opposition is not entirely surprising.
The bill was already expected to fail today because Democrats do not have the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster. With Manchin’s opposition, the final vote to invoke cloture on the bill will likely be 49 to 51, with all Republicans voting against the measure.
Republican senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have said they would support codifying Roe, but they do not support the women’s health protection act because they consider it too expansive.
Tammy Baldwin, Democratic senator for Wisconsin and co-sponsor of the legislation, said Manchin was wrong.
“I think his interpretation of the bill is incorrect when he says it goes a lot further,” Baldwin told CNN.
“Actually, it keeps the states from interfering with Roe v Wade and restricting access.
“That’s the additional provisions of the women’s health protection act, and they need to be there because you look how many states have taken an action like the Texas law that allows vigilantes to go out and and try to find anybody who aided or abetted abortion.”