Abortion Theater In the Senate

Today the Senate voted down the Democrats’ “abortion for all” bill, 51-49. Joe Manchin joined all Republicans in voting against the bill, which never had a chance of getting the 60 votes needed for passage.

Democrats hailed today’s vote as a political victory.

“As Americans make their decisions in this year’s elections, this question will not go away. They will pay close attention from now until November to Republicans who are responsible for its demise,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in opening Wednesday’s debate.

“So for my Republican colleagues who have spent the last week wanting to talk about anything other than Roe, it’s time to go on the record,” the New York Democrat said. “All of us will have to answer to this vote for the rest of our time in Congress.”

Democrats characterized their bill as a “codification of Roe v. Wade,” but that is a lie. The bill would in fact have mandated an extreme abortion regimen, including abortion up to the moment of birth, as long as an abortionist says it is desirable for the mother’s “health.” It also would have invalidated a number of restrictions on abortions that have been upheld under Roe.

What’s the point? I think there are two. First, Democrats are understandably dispirited, and the party’s leaders think that talking about abortion can fire them up and lessen the Republicans’ enthusiasm advantage. They may be right about that, although lots of Republican voters will be fired up to have abortion on the ballot, too. Second, it is an effort at distraction. Anything is better than talking about inflation, the economy generally, and illegal immigration. But I don’t think many voters will stay distracted until November.

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