Politico, HuffPo: Schumer's maximalist abortion bill "doomed" ... and not woke enough

Screenshot via C-SPAN

“Schumer tees up doomed abortion vote,” Politico reported. It’s not just doomed because Chuck Schumer can’t break a filibuster, but because the bill that Democrats will push can’t get to 50 votes, and maybe not even 49. The Left has become riven with conflict over abortion policy in the wake of the purloined Samuel Alito draft opinion in Dobbs to the point of paralysis.


Nevertheless, Chuck persists:

Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER said his chamber will vote Wednesday on a bill to codify abortion rights into law. It is unlikely to have the support necessary to break a filibuster (or even to pass without it).

But the high-profile vote will be followed May 14 by coordinated marches planned for D.C., Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, per Vice’s Elizabeth Landers. A variety of groups, including the Women’s March and Planned Parenthood, expect that the protests could draw hundreds of thousands of demonstrators.

Democrats want to start generating enough heat on abortion to boost their fundraising numbers. As Allahpundit pointed out yesterday, the early returns looked worrisome as an expected spike in donations didn’t materialize at ActBlue. The news was a little better at the DLCC, but still small potatoes:

“We don’t know exactly what the political environment will be,” said Jessica Post, the president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which helps Democratic candidates for state legislature. “But abortion has the potential to be a game-changing issue.”

State legislative races are not glamorous, high-dollar affairs. But the Democratic group had its biggest fund-raising day of the year after the publication of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s draft opinion, and raised more than $650,000 over 48 hours.

The surge reflected a growing recognition among Democratic donors and voters, Ms. Post said, that “the federal government isn’t coming to save us.”

In other words, Schumer’s not putting this bill on the floor to pass it — he’s trying to kick-start a political rally. Unfortunately, the very people Schumer’s trying to rally oppose the latest version of his bill, according to HuffPo. Why? It’s not radical enough, or more to the point, woke enough:


The new version of the bill is the same as the old version ― except it does not include the legislative findings, a nonbinding part of a bill that gives important context and intentions regarding the proposed legislation. The findings that were cut from the new WHPA bill described in detail the history of abortion restrictions, the ways they’ve intersected with racism, classism and misogyny, and how bans like those now playing out at the state level disproportionately affect the most vulnerable. They’re the kind of thing that help establish the intent of a piece of legislation and can be pointed to later if there are court challenges.

Several abortion rights groups met with Democratic leadership Wednesday afternoon to discuss why they stripped the findings from the latest version of WHPA, sources tell HuffPost. Schumer ― along with the main sponsor of the bill, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) ― were in the meeting, one source confirmed to HuffPost.

At that meeting, Schumer reportedly told the organizations that he was concerned some senators would take issue with the language included in the findings, leading them to vote against the bill. According to one source close to the story, Schumer estimated that WHPA could lose up to 10 Democratic votes if the findings on racism and misogyny were included in the legislation.

That sets up a very curious conflict in Schumer’s coalition. What sacrament matters more these days in the Democratic Party — abortion or critical race theory? The answer may surprise you!


One source close to the story said they are deeply frustrated with Democrats stripping the findings from the bill, especially when it’s not likely WHPA will pass anyway.

“What’s really frustrating is that we are working overtime to try to fix what we’ve been trying to deal with and what we’ve been worrying about for over a decade ― and here they are throwing our most important communities under the bus for votes that don’t even exist,” they said. “So once again, Democrats continue to waste our time and not actually show up for abortion rights in a way that’s going to make a difference to patients and providers.”

That’s, um … rather surprising. And incoherent too, because neither part matters in terms of “fixing” anything. It’s a stunt bill that doesn’t have the votes to pass even apart from the filibuster. Schumer’s just trying to protect the ever-expanding list of vulnerable Senate Democrat incumbents in the Red Wedding/The Shining Elevator Scene wave that will crest in November.

Although the rest of the bill isn’t peaches and cream in that regard either:

There’s more in John McCormack’s thread, so follow it all the way through (or go to NRO at this link). It’s point number three on which Susan Collins has declared herself opposed to this effort even without the wokery included:


Richard Blumenthal tried to push back on Collins, claiming that there isn’t anything in the bill that “detracts in any way from existing protections based on conscience or religion.” Needless to say, the text of the House bill belies this argument in its Section 5, Applicability and Preemption:

(a) In General.—

(1) Except as stated under subsection (b), this Act supersedes and applies to the law of the Federal Government and each State government, and the implementation of such law, whether statutory, common law, or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after the date of enactment of this Act, and neither the Federal Government nor any State government shall administer, implement, or enforce any law, rule, regulation, standard, or other provision having the force and effect of law that conflicts with any provision of this Act, notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.).

Emphases mine. Also of note: the 1993 RFRA law was sponsored in the House by a certain Charles Schumer of New York. My, how times change!

If Collins is out, then so is Lisa Murkowski, and so is Manchin. How many vulnerable Senate Democrats and candidates in this cycle want to go on record in support of a bill that would require all states to allow abortion to the moment of birth and would strip health-care providers of the right to refuse on conscience grounds? We already know Tim Ryan’s answer in Ohio, but maybe other media outlets can ask …

  • Mark Kelly (AZ)
  • Catherine Cortez-Masto (NV)
  • Rev. Raphael Warnock (GA)
  • Maggie Hassan (NH)
  • Michael Bennet (CO)

The way this cycle looks, reporters may need to hit up some other Senate Dem incumbents. It would be interesting to hear answers from, say, Patty Murray in D+8 Washington, Ron Wyden in D+6 Oregon, Tammy Duckworth in D+7 Illinois, aaaaaand maybe even Chuck Schumer in D+10 New York, given the scandal-ridden state of Democrats in Albany these days.

This entire project looks like a perfect setup  … for even more political backfire.

Update: If you want to know how stupidly performative this is, bear in mind that Collins and Murkowski have their own bill that would codify Roe *and* Casey into federal law:

Conversely, Ms Collins and Ms Murkowski’s legislation, known as the Reproductive Choice Act, would essentially codify the language of Roe v Wade, which guaranteed the right to an abortion, and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v Casey, which upheld Roe’s“essential ruling” and prohibited “undue burden” on abortion access.

Ms Murkowski and Ms Collins’ legislation says a state cannot impose such an “undue burden” on a woman to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability but that it could restrict a woman’s ability to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy post-viability unless the pregnancy would affect the mother’s health. The legislation would allow states to enact regulations to ensure a woman seeking an abortion’s health and safety.

Why not just bring that up for a floor vote? Because restoring Roe and Casey is now a “compromise” position, according to Schumer:


No, he’ s looking to posture.

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