Washington Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced his support for legislation Tuesday that Protecting abortion rights nationwide, a major shift for one of the last remaining anti-abortion Democrats in Congress.
The senator’s reversal on the matter now leaves Joe Manchin (DW.Va) as the only Democratic holdout on federal protections for abortion rights.
Casey has long called himself a “pro-life” Democrat, building on his father’s opposition to abortion (his father was Casey in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 Supreme Court opinion that ruled Roe v. Wade confirmed).
But in a statement Tuesday, Casey said “circumstances have changed around the whole debate on abortion” the last time the Senate voted and failed to move the Women’s Health Protection Act in February. The bill would enshrine the right to abortion in federal law.
“In light of the Supreme Court’s overturning of a leaked draft judgment” Roe vs. Wade, and subsequent reports that Republicans in the US House and Senate would introduce legislation to introduce a nationwide six-week ban, the real question at the moment is: Do you support an explicit ban on abortion? Casey said. “During my time in public office I have never voted – nor do I support such a ban.”
But Casey’s endorsement of the bill won’t do much to change the slim chances of the bill’s passage as Democrats still lack 60 votes to overcome the GOP filibuster on the measure. And Munchkin is unlikely to support the bill, even if he votes on Wednesday to pursue it for procedural reasons.
However, support of federal protections for abortion by long-time self-proclaimed “pro-life” Democrats reflects shifting politics over a hot button issue—particularly in Pennsylvania, a battleground state where abortion access was directly on the ballot this November. Will be. Several GOP candidates running for governor have declared their support for an outright ban on abortion.
Democrats welcomed the news Tuesday that they have found another sponsor for the Women’s Health Protection Act.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, “I think we know that Bob has thought long and hard about it, it means a lot to him because of his father and his family. ” “So I think it’s a positive endorsement.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said support of Casey’s bill would “put additional pressure on Republican allies who may share some of his views but have not yet urged him to proceed.”
Neither Censor Susan Collins (R-Maine) or Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), two Republican senators who say they support abortion rights, intend to vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act. They have argued that the law does not provide adequate protection to anti-abortion health providers, including Catholic hospitals – a charge Democrats have said is unfair.
“It will not replace a quota of existing legislation,” Blumenthal told HuffPost. “It would only codify existing legislation … The idea that doctors would need to perform abortions is simply not true.”