Senate Dems test whether abortion can break through talk of Biden concerns

The Senate took up a bill on Wednesday that seeks to codify abortion protections from Roe v. Wade into the Constitution, thereby nullifying the decision that overturned it, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., last month announced his intention to take up the Reproductive Freedom for Women Act, after already holding votes on proceeding with legislation to create rights to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and contraception, which were criticized by Republicans for being too broad. 

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The measure was led by Senate President pro tempore Patty Murray, D-Wash. “Our bill is simple: it’s a plain up or down vote on whether you support women being able to make their own reproductive health care decisions,” she said during a press conference on Tuesday. “It doesn’t force anything, it doesn’t cost anything, it’s a half-page bill saying women should have the basic freedom to make their own decisions about their health care. Seriously – that is all it is.” 

The bill failed to gain the 60 necessary votes to move forward, only garnering 49 votes in favor. Forty-four senators voted against the attempt to codify abortion rights. 

The vote was largely guided by party lines. However, moderate Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, joined Democrats to support the measure. 

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Despite being planned last month, the vote on Wednesday came as news was dominated by discussion of President Biden and his viability as a candidate. The Democratic Senate caucus held a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, during which they discussed the concerns that some members had about Biden after his poor debate performance last month. 

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., admitted Tuesday night on CNN that he told his colleagues during the meeting that he didn’t think Biden could beat Trump in November. 

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He became the first Democratic senator to publicly air that concern. Other senators have come close, saying in public statements that Biden needs to prove himself. 

A source familiar confirmed to Fox News Digital that Democrats in the chamber will be having a special meeting with top Biden campaign advisers on Thursday at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) as concerns continue to fester. Senior advisers Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti, and campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon will join the lawmakers. 

The series of reproductive votes that Schumer has brought to the floor throughout the summer have been in an effort to highlight Republicans’ stance ahead of the pivotal November elections. 

Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., called out the vote earlier Wednesday afternoon, telling Fox News Digital in a statement, “Make no mistake – today was nothing more than yet another self-serving show vote by Senator Schumer.”

“Democrats’ continued far-left push to get rid of the longstanding, bipartisan Hyde Amendment and force American taxpayers to fund abortions at any time, for any reason, up until the moment of birth is radical and wildly out of touch,” she added. 

Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., predicted to Fox News Digital prior to the vote that the Democrats wouldn’t get the necessary 60 votes to move forward with the bill, labeling it a “show vote.” He also claimed they wouldn’t be able to cut through the noise of the discussions on Capitol Hill about Biden’s candidacy, adding, “Their policies are so loud.”

“Today’s vote will not be the end of the struggle to secure reproductive freedoms, but it’s an important step forward. Americans want to see where their senators stand by voting on these bills on women’s health,” the majority leader said on the chamber floor on Wednesday ahead of the procedural vote. 

“We are moving the issue forward because it’s very important and very reasonable for members to be called on to take a position on a vital issue. Of course, many Republicans would rather sweep reproductive health under the rug, saying it’s political, but this is not political. This is the essence of what elected government is like. We all know these issues are deeply personal to so many people and Americans ought to be able to see how their senators vote,” he continued. 

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