President Joe Biden lamented the failure in the Senate of Democrats’ bill to legalize abortion nationwide and end virtually all restrictions on the procedure.

"Once again — as fundamental rights are at risk at the Supreme Court — Senate Republicans have blocked passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that affirmatively protects access to reproductive health care," Biden said in a statement issued by the White House on Wednesday. "This failure to act comes at a time when women’s constitutional rights are under unprecedented attack — and it runs counter to the will of the majority of American people."

Biden blamed the Senate's 50 Republicans, who were joined by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in rejecting cloture on the bill. "Republicans in Congress — not one of whom voted for this bill — have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives."


The legislation was revived in the wake of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would strike down the constitutional right to abortion and as Democratic activists fault Biden for failing to take action to prevent an outcome that would shift abortion rights back to the states.

The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022, a version of which Democrats first introduced in 2021 before the leaked draft opinion, goes further than Roe v. Wade by guaranteeing a federal right to abortion through viability and beyond if a healthcare provider deems the procedure necessary “for the preservation of the life or health of the person who is pregnant.” It would also forbid states from passing restrictions on abortion and threaten conscience protections for religious providers.

The measure was seen as unlikely to pass, but liberals hope it will galvanize their supporters ahead of the midterm elections.

The White House on Wednesday morning issued a statement of administration policy that supported the bill, citing “the urgency to protect women’s health, their fundamental right to control their reproductive choices, and the freedom of all people to build their own future.”

The statement added, “It is imperative for Congress to act to adopt statutory protections for women’s access to essential health care services and reproductive choice, regardless of where they live.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) forced a vote on the bill Wednesday, despite the inability to overcome a filibuster in the 50-50 Senate, which also includes one anti-abortion Democrat. Schumer said there was a need to put senators on the record.

“Every American is going to see which side every senator stands,” Schumer said last week. “A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets.”

Thousands of abortion rights activists have gathered in front of the Supreme Court and courthouses across the country, chanting, “Shame on Joe,” while showing up outside the homes of Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts.

Just over half of voters in a new Morning Consult/Politico poll, 53%, said Roe should not be overturned, a 3-percentage-point uptick since last week. Among Republican voters, support for overturning Roe has fallen by 3 percentage points.

While 58% said it was important for them to vote for a candidate who supports abortion access in November, voters were divided over whether the issue would supersede other priorities.

Thirty-nine percent said they would support a candidate that backs their stance on abortion access, even if they disagreed on other issues, compared to 41% who said they would prioritize other positions. A fifth of voters were unsure.

Senators considered swing votes on the issue, such as Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), had already said they won’t support the Democrats’ bill.

Collins, one of two Republican senators who supports abortion rights, has stressed her commitment to Roe but said the Democrats’ bill goes far beyond the landmark 1973 rule. “I want the law today to be the law tomorrow,” Collins said in a statement Wednesday.

Manchin told reporters Wednesday that while he would back a “clean” bill to codify Roe, support for the Women’s Health Protection Act is off the table.

“They’re trying to make people believe that this is the same thing as codifying Roe v. Wade. And I want you to know, it’s not,” Manchin told Politico. “This is not the same. It expands abortion.”

Biden reiterated his call for voters to back Democrats who support abortion rights in the midterm elections. "To protect the right to choose, voters need to elect more pro-choice senators this November, and return a pro-choice majority to the House," he said. "If they do, Congress can pass this bill in January, and put it on my desk, so I can sign it into law."


Ahead of the vote, the White House has pledged to take action to protect Roe, hinting at what could come if a final opinion from the high court strikes down the law.

“It may not all be executive orders,” press secretary Jen Psaki said this week. “What I would point you to is what we did around S.B. 8 and the law in Texas, which was to take steps, including by creating new grants to increase funding … to ensure we’re making it more, you know, making sure that funding is available to people.”