Day 471: "Appropriate next steps."
1/ Senate Democrats moved to vote on a bill to codify abortion rights into federal law in the wake of a leaked Supreme Court draft decision that would strike down Roe v. Wade. The vote, however, is all but certain to be blocked by Republicans because the bill needs 60 votes to advance. Senate Democrats are also short of the 50 votes needed to eliminate the filibuster. In February, the Senate voted on the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act, which failed to advance in a 46 to 48 vote. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, reiterated that he still supports the filibuster, calling it “the only protection we have of democracy right now.” And Susan Collins, one of two Republican senators who support abortion rights, said she doesn’t support legislation to create a statutory right to abortion because the measure doesn’t “protect the right of a Catholic hospital to not perform abortions.” She added: “It supersedes all other federal and state laws, including the conscience protections that are in the Affordable Care Act.” Nevertheless, Chuck Schumer said the vote would be one of “the most important we ever take.” 52% of women of childbearing age in the U.S. would live in states where their right to an abortion is restrictive if Roe v. Wade is overturned. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / The Hill / NBC News / ABC News / Politico)
2/ Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department “will address appropriate next steps” if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. While it’s unclear what kind of enforcement the Justice Department would use to protect women seeking abortions, Garland said the department has “steadfastly been committed to defending the right to abortion.” White House officials have looked at whether funding, potentially through Medicaid or another mechanism, could be made available to women to travel to other states for an abortion if Congress can’t codify Roe v. Wade. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have discussed potential legislation to restrict abortions nationwide if they gain control of the Senate. (Washington Post / NBC News)
3/ Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito canceled a conference appearance after his draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked. Alito had been set to appear at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ judicial conference, which includes judges from the New Orleans-based federal appeals court and the district courts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. A spokesperson for the court gave no reason why Alito canceled and would not attend. (Reuters)
4/ Louisiana House Republicans advanced a bill that would classify abortion as homicide and allow prosecutors to criminally charge patients. The bill would grant constitutional rights to a person “from the moment of fertilization,” which could also restrict in vitro fertilization and emergency contraception. (Washington Post)
5/ The stock market had one of its worst days since 2020 – a day after notching its biggest one-day gain in two years. The Dow lost 3.12% and the Nasdaq fell 4.99% – the index’s worst single-day drops since 2020 – while the S&P 500 fell 3.56%, marking its second worst day of the year. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times)
6/ Nearly 15 million people worldwide have died from causes related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new estimate from the World Health Organization. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
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