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: Abortion-rights vote fails in Senate as Democrats try to codify Roe v. Wade

The Senate on Tuesday is planning to vote on a bill that would preserve access to abortion across the U.S., as a draft Supreme Court opinion suggests the court is poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

While Democrats are attempting to codify the decision that legalized abortion nationwide, the party doesn’t have enough votes to advance the legislation. With a 60-vote threshold required to pass most bills in the Senate, and amid widespread Republican opposition, the effort is largely symbolic. The chamber is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

As midterm elections approach, meanwhile, the leaked decision has energized both parties. President Joe Biden has urged voters to elect pro-choice officials in November, while GOP hopefuls like Mehmet Oz — the heart surgeon and former TV host running in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary — are praising the Supreme Court’s conservative majority.

The high court has said the leaked document is authentic but does not represent a decision or the final position of any member.

Now read: Republicans may win not just House but also Senate in midterm elections — here are 2022’s Senate races to watch

And see: Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade would boost Democratic turnout for midterm elections, analysts say

If Democrats’ legislation were to become law, it would do more than just preserve the status quo, the Associated Press reports.

The bill would also expand protections, invalidating many state laws that Democrats and abortion rights advocates say have infringed on the original 1973 ruling. Two Republican senators who support abortion rights have indicated they won’t vote for it, instead favoring their own, narrower legislation.

Also read: Democrats, abortion-rights groups score surge in donations after news that Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade

Testifying before a Senate committee on Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers that the loss of access to legal abortion would set women back decades.

“I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades,” she told the Senate Banking Committee.

Her statement prompted Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, to ask: “Did you say that ending the life of a child is good for the labor force participation rate?”

“I think people can disagree on the issue of being ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-abortion’ — but framing it in the labor force participation rate feels callous to me,” said Scott, according to the AP. He added, the conversation “to me seems harsh.”

Yellen responded: “This is not harsh, this is the truth.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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