Legislation to codify abortion rights into federal law was blocked by Senate Republicans on a 49-51 vote Wednesday, just a week after the Supreme Court’s draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked.
This is the second time the Women’s Health Protection Act was voted down in the Senate. It previously passed the House in September 2021, and would guarantee providers’ ability to perform an abortion and individuals’ right to access one nationwide.
While state law in Washington already protects this, any federal statute would supersede it. Washington State Democratic Chair Tina Podlodowski said this is why it is imperative to elect pro-choice candidates all all levels of government, particularly national office.
“The need to retain our Democratic majorities has never been greater. Should the GOP take power, a federal abortion ban is on the table — they’ve said as much, and their MAGA agenda won’t stop there. A single act of Congress could outlaw abortion nationwide no matter what Washington voters have to say about it. We know it’s not just a majority of our state who supports access to abortion but the country, and yet, extreme Republicans like Tiffany Smiley are running here in our state to help in eroding that fundamental right.
“Make no mistake, reproductive rights are on the ballot this November in Washington state. The only way to ensure access to safe, legal abortion here at home and nationwide is electing Patty Murray and more pro-choice Democrats up and down the ballot.”
Reproductive health care providers in Washington have warned if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the state will see a 385% increase in patients seeking abortion care.
Smiley’s earliest endorsers include Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a reported leader in the effort to ban abortion nationwide, and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), whose outrageous anti-choice, anti-contraception questioning made headlines during Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings.