Home / Politics / Two longstanding abortion-related measures fail in the US Senate

Two longstanding abortion-related measures fail in the US Senate

WASHINGTON – Two longstanding abortion measures failed to advance on the Senate floor Tuesday after being introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Although he has been previously against “show votes” on measures that have little chance of passing, McConnell made his colleagues vote on the bills related to abortion, a divisive issue that Republicans are focusing on ahead of the 2020 elections.

Neither measure was expected to get the 60 votes needed to advance past the initial procedural hurdle. 

More: Abortion measures come to a vote under ‘Grim Reaper’ of bills, Mitch McConnell

Today, every senator will be able to take a clear moral stand,” McConnell said Tuesday morning on the Senate floor. “We’ll have the chance to proceed to common sense legislation that would move our nation closer to the international mainstream with respect to defending innocent human life.” 

The first bill, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” would ban abortion at 20 weeks, which is based on a scientifically disputed claim that a fetus can feel pain at that point. 

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and takes aim at the 24-week threshold established by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide.

That bill failed 53-44. Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia backed the measure, while Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska opposed it. 

More: Trump says coronavirus is ‘under control’ despite warnings from health officials of ‘severe’ disruptions

The second bill, sponsored by Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, would require abortion providers to try to “preserve the life and health” of any infant born after a failed abortion, or face up to five years in prison. 

Audio: Bloomberg slammed Warren as ‘scary’ and demeaned his endorsement of Obama

The bill garnered the support of three Democrats: Alabama Democrat Sen. Doug Jones joined Manchin and Casey. The final tally for the measure was 56-41. 

After that bill failed to move forward after a 53-44 vote last year in the Senate, President Donald Trump falsely conflated the measure with infanticide, which is already illegal under federal law, and tweeted that Democrats “don’t mind executing babies AFTER birth.”

Critics of Sasse’s bill, versions of which have been introduced in several states, have argued it is unnecessary and that medical ethics require any health professional to take appropriate steps to save the life of any infant in such circumstances. 

More: Arizona congressional candidate suspends campaign after relapse, drug overdose

Some Senators criticized McConnell‘s decision to allow a vote on the measures while blocking votes on hundr of other bills related to issues like gun control and election security. McConnell nicknamed himself the “Grim Reaper” because he has turned the Senate into a “graveyard” for hundr of proposals passed by the House. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused McConnell of wasting the chamber’s time on “legislation that is purely an attack on women‘s health care.”

The abortion-related measures put vulnerable Senators on both sides of the aisle in difficult situations — and they were meant to, especially for moderate Democrats like Jones. 

McConnell is hoping to energize social conservatives ahead of the elections as he seeks to keep his majority in the Senate.

“If my Democratic colleagues block the Senate from even proceeding to debate this legislation later today, the message they send will be chilling and clear: The radical demands of the far-left will drown out common sense and the views of most Americans,” McConnell said. 

More: White House requests $2.5 billion for coronavirus, Dems say that’s ‘woefully insufficient’

The Trump administration has been vocal about being pro-life. His re-election campaign announced creation of a “Pro-Life Voices for Trump” coalition just hours before he became the first sitting president to appear in person “March for Life” rally in its 47-year history in January. The administration also often touts their nominations of conservative judges and allowing “states to defund Planned Parenthood.” 

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted Tuesday that “Republicans continue to support important pro-life policies, Democrats are bowing to the most radical elements of their party refusing to protect babies still in their mother’s womb.”

Contributing: Billy Kobin, Courier Journal 

300-101   400-101   300-320   300-070   300-206   200-310   300-135   300-208   810-403   400-050   640-916   642-997   300-209   400-201   200-355   352-001   642-999   350-080   MB2-712   400-051   C2150-606   1Z0-434   1Z0-146   C2090-919   C9560-655   642-64   100-101   CQE   CSSLP   200-125   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-075   300-115   AWS-SYSOPS   640-692   640-911   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   000-089   000-105   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410