United State Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, said Tuesday he will vote to codify abortion protections into federal law.
Casey said he will support the Women’s Health Protection Act if there is a Senate vote on the bill, which could happen as early as Wednesday. The announcement follows a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that suggests the high court is primed to overturn 1973’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which protects abortion rights.
“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?” Casey said in a written statement.
“During my time in public office, I have never voted for – nor do I support – such a ban,” Casey continued.
Casey, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, has a close connection to the issue of abortion rights. In 1992, his father, then-Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey, was a defendant in the Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey case, which reached the Supreme Court.
The high court in that case reaffirmed the earlier Roe v. Wade ruling, but it also upheld several of the restrictions on abortion that Pennsylvania lawmakers approved in 1988 and 1989, including a 24-hour waiting period prior to the procedure, parental consent for minors and informed consent relating to medical disclosures about the procedure.
The Women's Health Protection Act currently before the U.S. Senate would protect abortion by law at the federal level. It passed the House last year but has not come up for a vote in the Senate. Republicans in the Senate have led a filibuster of the bill, and it was blocked from being debated in February of this year.
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Democrats in the Senate have proposed the legislation amid a push by Republican-controlled state legislatures to pass laws restricting abortion. The bill would protect abortion rights nationwide, but it faces long odds of passing due to unanimous opposition by Republicans and possible opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said the chamber will nonetheless vote on the issue.