U.S. Sen. Bob Casey questions witnesses at the Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing Feb. 12 (Screen Capture).
(*This story was updated at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, 5/10/22 to correctly reflect that the Senate is voting on a bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.)
Pennsylvania’s senior United States senator says he’s a yes vote on a bill protecting abortion rights, handing Democrats crucial support in the narrowly divided chamber ahead of Wednesday’s planned vote on the legislation.
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Scranton Democrat who opposes abortion, but has voted to support family planning and satellite issues, said he’ll vote to advance debate on the bill, and also will vote for the bill on final passage in the chamber if, and when, the time comes.
“This week, I will again vote yes to advance debate on the Women’s Health Protection Act and I will support the bill if there is a vote on final passage in the future,” Casey said. The chamber is set to take up legislation sponsored by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
“In the nearly three months since the Senate last voted on the Women’s Health Protection Act, the circumstances around the entire debate on abortion have changed,” Casey continued. “In light of the leaked Supreme Court decision draft overturning Roe v. Wade, and subsequent reports that Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate will introduce legislation to enact a nationwide six-week ban, the real question of the moment is: do you support a categorical ban on abortion? During my time in public office, I have never voted for—nor do I support—such a ban.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., announced last week that he planned to force a vote on the bill to codifying abortion protections, the Capital-Star previously reported.
Despite Casey’s announced support, Democrats still face an uphill battle in the 50-50 chamber. They remain well short of the 60 votes that are needed to pass the legislation.
Still, Schumer, of New York, and other Democrats said they want to put every member of the chamber on the record, following the leak to Politico of the Supreme Court draft opinion showing justices at least initially voted to overturn the abortion rights case Roe v. Wade. The ruling is not final and could yet be changed.
“We’re having the vote next week,” Schumer said. “We’re going to see where everyone stands … Once we have that vote, we will figure out the best way to go from there.”
The Senate rejected a similar bill in February. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined all Republicans present to defeat a procedural vote, 46-48. Casey was a yes vote on advancing the debate for that bill, according to an official Senate roll call.
Capital-Star Staff Reporter Marley Parish contributed to this story.
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