Senate Republicans Block Democratic Votes on Abortion Bills

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an effort by Democrats to pass a series of abortion bills as the party seeks to maintain a focus on abortion and reproductive health care access ahead of the November elections.

One bill aimed to protect the freedom to travel across state lines to access abortion care. Another bill would protect doctors in states where abortion is legal from liability for providing services to patients from other states, and a third bill aimed to support the training of more abortion care providers.

“None of these bills should be controversial. Opposing these bills, as Republicans just did, is really extreme,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said on the Senate floor. “It seems that when it comes to abortion, there is no bill too simple for Republicans to oppose, no right too fundamental for Republicans to attack, and no issue too important for Republicans to ignore.”

Democrats tried to pass all three bills unanimously, meaning that only one Republican would have to object.

The bills are part of Senate Democrats' months-long focus on abortion, aimed at highlighting the partisan divide on abortion rights and women's access to health care. Democrats want to keep abortion in the back of voters' minds and highlight what they call Republican extremism.

Last month, Senate Democrats attempted to vote on legislation to protect access to contraception and in vitro fertilization treatments, both of which were blocked by Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the Senate will vote Wednesday on a bill to enshrine Roe v. Wade protections into law.

But as Democrats try to keep the focus on abortion, concerns about whether to keep President Biden on the ballot threaten to overshadow their efforts.

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