As expected, the US Senate Democrats failed in their attempt to secure the right to abortion with a federal law. Republicans blocked a vote on the bill Wednesday using a more than 100-year-old rule known as the filibuster.
The rule states that for many bills, 60 of the 100 senators must agree to an end to the debate before there can be a vote at all. A success of the Democrats was not expected – the vote was primarily symbolic in nature.
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There is no federal law in the United States that allows or prohibits abortion. However, abortions are permitted at least until the fetus is viable – today around the 24th week. The basis for this is a ruling by the US Supreme Court in 1973.
At the beginning of May, the magazine “Politico” published the draft of the reasoning of the Supreme Court’s verdict. It shows that the US Supreme Court is about to overturn the country’s liberal abortion laws.
In the absence of federal legislation, the states would have jurisdiction. Numerous conservative-governed states want to largely ban abortion.
Biden criticizes the outcome of the vote
The US Democrats have a razor-thin majority in the Senate. But not even that stood: all Republicans voted against the end of the debate. Democrat Joe Manchin joined them in a vote of 51 to 49. Manchin had already blocked numerous reform plans by US President Joe Biden in the past.
Republicans in Congress would obstruct Americans’ right to make highly personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives, Biden said.
He urged voters to consider this in November’s congressional elections. “If they do that, Congress can pass this legislation in January and put it on my desk for me to sign,” Biden said. (dpa)