Legislation to make abortion legal throughout the United States was defeated in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, amid solid Republican opposition.
Democrats had sought to head off an impending Supreme Court opinion that is expected to overturn the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade decision that established the national right to abortion. Wednesday’s effort was a protest gesture that never stood much chance of success.
With 49 votes in support and 51 against, the “Women’s Health Protection Act” was 11 short of the 60 votes needed to be fully debated in the 100-member Senate.
All 50 Republicans voted to block the bill. They were joined by one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin.
Although the Senate defeat was widely expected, Democrats hope the vote will help propel more of their candidates to victory in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, as public opinion polls show deep support among voters for abortion rights.
That, in turn, could bolster future attempts to legalize abortion through legislation.