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The narrow Democratic majority in the Senate was not enough on Wednesday to allow the adoption of a law guaranteeing access to abortion in the United States. An expected legislative failure, ahead of a dreaded Supreme Court decision.
The US Senate failed Wednesday, May 11 to adopt a law guaranteeing access to abortion throughout the country, at a time when this right is strongly threatened by an upcoming decision of the Supreme Court.
This vote was above all symbolic, the Democrats not having the 60 votes out of 100 necessary to move forward on this text. But it is part of a larger fight by progressives to try to protect the right to abortion.
“For the first time in 50 years, a conservative majority, an extreme majority of the Supreme Court is about to decree that women do not have control over their own bodies”, alerted, in a serious tone, the chief of Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer just before the vote.
“My body, my choice”
The Republicans opposed this bill en bloc, accusing the Democrats, through their leader Mitch McConnell, of wanting to offer “abortions on demand”. Ultimate setback, Democrat Joe Manchin, already gravedigger of several major Joe Biden projects, voted with the Republican opposition.
The US president blasted the outcome of the vote. “Republicans in Congress – none of whom voted for this bill – have chosen to oppose the right of American women to make the most personal decisions about their bodies, their families and their lives,” he said. he denounced in a press release.
His party wanted to organize this vote after the extraordinary leak, on May 2, of a draft decision from the Supreme Court, according to which the highest American court was preparing to cancel access to abortion. If the Supreme Court were to reverse the case law that has founded the right to abortion in the United States since 1973, each state would be free to prohibit or authorize it. About 20 conservative states have already promised to make it illegal.
To cries of “my body, my choice”, around thirty elected officials from the House of Representatives, where this law had been successfully adopted in September, came to watch the Senate vote to contest its failure. Within this group, several elected officials have publicly mentioned their abortion.
Since the revelation of this draft judgment of the Supreme Court, groups – more or less dense – come every evening to shout their anger in front of the American temple of law, an imposing white marble building now protected by a fence. And some demonstrators protest even in front of the residence of conservative judges of the Court.
Several major progressive organizations have called on Americans to march en masse on May 14 across the United States to protect access to abortion. Four major marches are being held in Washington, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and hundreds of rallies are planned across the rest of the country.
US President Joe Biden has also promised to get personally involved in the battle and urged Americans to “choose candidates in favor” of the right to abortion in the midterm legislative elections on November 8. He thus wishes to enlarge the majority of Democrats in the Senate, with the hope of then being able to pass this federal law protecting access to abortion.
But these elections are always very dangerous for the power in place, and it is very possible that the Democrats will on the contrary lose their slim majorities in Congress during the ballot.