ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Senate Republicans, along with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, blocked legislation on Wednesday that aimed to preserve nationwide abortion protections enshrined in Roe vs. Wade.
Democrats fell 11 votes short to solidifying the legislation, which was put forth ahead of a summer ruling by the Supreme Court that is likely to overturn the 1973 landmark decision. The final vote was 51-49.
The vote was seen as largely symbolic, as Senate Democrats expected it to fall short of the 60 votes needed to pass. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation was partially put forth to ensure every senator took a stand on abortion ahead of the midterm elections.
“All of us will have to answer for this vote for the rest of our time in public office,” Schumer said ahead of the vote.
New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was one of the 49 senators who voted for the bill. She called the legislation a “defining moment for women and girls.”
“Make no mistake, if this ruling goes into effect, more than half of the American population will immediately become second class citizens,” Gillibrand said Wednesday.
Republican Pennsylvania Representative Fred Keller, who has been recognized for his pro-life voting record, told 18 News he was against the bill.
“When you have two healthy lives that go in for medical procedure and only one comes out of it, that’s not health care,” Keller said.
Pennsylvania is one of 24 states that could dismantle abortion rights if Roe is overturned. An analysis from the Center for Reproductive rights shows that if the law was overturned immediately, the procedure would not be legally protected in the state.