Senate Faces Crucial Vote on Birth Control Bill Amidst Political Tensions

A bill aimed at securing nationwide access to contraceptives is set for a Senate vote. Despite Democratic efforts to highlight reproductive rights before the November elections, the bill faces slim chances of passage. The debate underscores ongoing political tensions, especially after the Supreme Court's decision on abortion rights.

Reuters | Updated: 05-06-2024 15:32 IST | Created: 05-06-2024 15:32 IST
Senate Faces Crucial Vote on Birth Control Bill Amidst Political Tensions
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A bill to safeguard access to contraceptives faces a U.S. Senate vote on Wednesday, part of a push by congressional Democrats to focus public attention on reproductive rights ahead of the November election but with little chance of passage.

The Right to Contraception Act, which would protect birth control access nationwide, is unlikely to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to pass in the chamber, where Democrats hold a narrow 51-49 majority. The fight over reproductive rights is a flashpoint in U.S. politics, especially since the Supreme Court's 2022 decision to end the constitutional right to abortion access.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump last month came under fire after comments that political rivals said suggested he would consider banning birth control, leading him to respond publicly that he would not support such a move. "I would hope that protecting access to birth control would be the definition of an easy, uncontroversial decision here in the Senate, but the vote will tell all when we gavel in tomorrow," top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday.

U.S. House of Representatives Democrats said on Tuesday they would attempt a legislative maneuver to force a vote on the same bill the Senate is taking up, though they faced slim chance of success in the Republican-controlled chamber. "Republicans have a choice to make: they can put aside their MAGA ideology and join us (to) get this bill passed or they can triple down on their anti-freedom extremism in full view of the American people," No. 2 House Democrat Katherine Clark said on Tuesday.

Some Senate Republicans criticized the push. "It's an election year in which a Democratic incumbent president is running behind, so a decision has been made to raise abortion to a high profile," said Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, referring to President Joe Biden.

"You can't normalize a procedure where the intent is to end a life," Cassidy said. In a May Reuters/Ipsos survey of 3,934 U.S. residents 18 and older, 37% said Biden has a better approach to abortion compared to 27% who said the same about Trump ahead of a Nov. 5 election expected to be close.

Schumer said Democrats would also introduce a bill in coming weeks to protect in-vitro fertilization, which Senate Republicans previously voted against after an Alabama court made the fertility treatment used by millions of Americans to conceive effectively illegal in the state.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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