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News > World

Bill to Codify Abortion Rights in US Fails to Advance in Senate

  • People defending women's rights.

    People defending women's rights. | Photo: Twitter/ @netherlandsguy

Published 12 May 2022

An abortion rights demonstration is planned for Saturday on the National Mall in Washington. Participants are expected to march to the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the Women's Health Protection Act, which had passed the House of Representatives, was voted down 49-51 in the upper chamber. All 50 Senate Republicans, along with one Democrat, opposed the Democratic-led effort, which requires at least 60 votes to move forward.


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Republicans have criticized the bill, saying that it went further than most Americans would want to go on abortion rights. The vote came more than a week after a draft majority opinion leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court suggested that it is poised to strike down Roe v. Wade.

"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the draft majority opinion, a copy of which was obtained and published by POLITICO. "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," the conservative argued. "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."

The landmark Supreme court decision in 1973 established a constitutional right to abortion in the U.S. A subsequent 1992 decision -- Planned Parenthood v. Casey -- largely maintained that right. The Supreme Court acknowledged the authenticity of the draft, though it stated that the document did not represent its final position. 

The high court is considering Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, an appeal case that involves a Mississippi law banning all abortions over 15 weeks gestational age except in certain circumstances. A ruling is expected in late June or early July.

An abortion rights demonstration is planned for Saturday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., according to the National Park Service. Participants are expected to meet on the grounds of the Washington Monument at noon for a rally and then march to the Supreme Court.

Fencing has surrounded the Supreme Court since last week. Abortion rights advocates have also demonstrated outside some justices' homes, drawing criticism from Republicans.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Monday that demonstrations "should never include violence, threats, or vandalism." "Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety." 

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said that Attorney General Merrick Garland "continues to be briefed on security matters related to the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Justices."

"The Attorney General directed the U.S. Marshals Service to help ensure the Justices' safety by providing additional support to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Police," a statement read.


Samuel Alito
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