Manchin Breaks from Democratic Party on Abortion Bill
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) last week joined Republicans in voting against a bill that would have guaranteed abortion access nationwide.
The so-called Women’s Health Protection Act was reintroduced with revisions this month following the recent Supreme Court opinion leak regarding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Among other things, the bill would have prevented state governments from forcing patients to make “medically unnecessary” visits prior to an abortion, restricting healthcare providers’ abilities to prescribe drugs or offering abortion services in situations where a delay could present a risk to the mother’s health, and requiring patients to disclose the reason for seeking an abortion.
“I was hopeful that the Democratic Party having control of the agenda would put a piece of legislation forward that would codify Roe v Wade,” said Manchin. “To me, that would be the reasonable, rational thing to do.”
Instead, continued Manchin, the bill goes way too far and would contradict 500 state laws. “Make no mistake, it is not Roe v Wade codification, it is an expansion…It expands abortion.”
As I wrote last week (click here to read more), a majority of Americans think abortion should be legal with restrictions. Manchin, a Catholic, is pro-life but says he would support legislation to legalize abortion on the federal level consistent with the rights granted to Americans through Roe v Wade because those rights have been the “law of the land” for so long.
Abortion is an extremely divisive topic and lawmakers should avoid “dividing this country further than we’re already divided,” said Manchin. “And it’s really the politics of Congress that’s dividing the country. It’s not the people. They’re telling us what they want. And it’s just disappointing that we’re going to be voting on a piece of legislation which I will not vote for today.”
The legislation was defeated by a narrow margin of 51-49, with Republican Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) hinting support for a future bill that includes more restrictions.