Senate Democrats filibustered a bill Tuesday that would ban late-term abortions, preventing the measure from reaching President Obama’s desk after passing in the House earlier this year.
Though 54 senators supported a measure to take a final vote on the Pain Cabable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, the measure was defeated by a procedural hurdle when 42 senators voted to block it. “There are only seven countries that allow wholesale abortions at the 20-week period including China and North Korea,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), the lead sponsor on the bill, said yesterday. “It’s sad, but true, that the United States is currently a member of that shameful club.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) led the Democratic filibuster, even though he describes himself as pro-life. “They’ve decided to waste the Senate’s time on a 20-week abortion ban,” he said on the Senate floor. “Every senator in this body knows this bill is going nowhere. This attack is a waste of time. The bill on its merits is no good. It will accomplish nothing.”
Though three Democrats — West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly, and Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey — defected to support a final vote on the bill, they were offset by two Republicans — Maine’s Susan Collins and Mark Kirk of Illinois — who joined Reid and the rest of his caucus in voting to sustain the filibuster.
#share#House Republicans passed the bill in May, but the issue picked up steam on the Senate side after the Center for Medical Progress began releasing a series of undercover videos investigating Planned Parenthood’s apparent sale of fetal body parts. “A society is measured by how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable members,” Senate Republican Conference chairman John Thune (R., S.D.) said Tuesday. “We have been failing some of ours. Today, a nation known for protecting fundamental human rights missed a critical opportunity to show that we can do better for those who cannot protect themselves.”
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.