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Balance of power: Schumer stretches reproductive rights votes further into 2024, seizing on GOP vulnerability


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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is laying the groundwork for a vote to codify Roe v. Wade and the right to an abortion next month as he continues to press his Republican colleagues ahead of pivotal November elections. 

“A few moments ago, I took the first procedural step to place on the legislative calendar the Reproductive Freedom for Women Act, sponsored by Sen. Murray and myself, and cosponsored by all the women senators on our side,” Schumer recently revealed in floor remarks, referencing Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. “This measure affirms a woman’s fundamental right to choose, and calls for enshrining the protections of Roe v. Wade into law, as most Americans say they want.”

The bill could be scheduled for a formal test vote as soon as early July. Republicans would be expected to deny the measure from reaching 60 votes to clear the procedural hurdle, as they have on the past two reproductive bills teed up by Democrats. 

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Schumer revealed plans to bring a vote on codifying Roe v. Wade. (Getty Images)

Schumer held two votes in the past month on contraception and in vitro fertilization (IVF), which were both criticized by Republicans for being broad with wide-ranging implications. 

“You can tell the season we’re in. We’re in the political season, based upon what the Democrats and the Senate are, and are not, spending their time and energy considering,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., criticized. “Clearly, the goal of Senate Democrats and Sen. Schumer is to have a summer of show votes.”

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Sen. John Thune at a news coneference

Thune criticized what he called “show votes.” (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“With November fast approaching, Republicans continue to show the American people where they really are: with MAGA extremists, and not with the majority of America,” Schumer said in his floor remarks, referencing the fast-approaching congressional elections. “That’s what Republican senators and House members are doing.”

The upcoming vote to codify Roe v. Wade and the right to an abortion was slammed by top Pro-Life group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. 

“This radical resolution has nothing to do with helping women. It says nothing about empowering women with the resources and support they deserve. Instead, it just doubles down on the Democrats’ radical agenda of all-trimester abortion, everywhere in America,” said President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement. 

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Marjorie Dannenfelser

SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser slammed the bill. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In a May Fox News Poll, abortion was revealed to be the top “deal-breaker” issue among all registered voters and among Democrats. It was also the biggest single issue for suburban women, with 24% of them designating it as such. Abortion was the top issue among Black voters (17%), people with a college degree (17%), and voters under 30 years old (16%).

Additionally, the poll showed voters trust President Biden more than they do former President Trump when it comes to abortion. Among registered voters, 52% said they trust Biden to do a better job on the issue than Trump, who received 44%. 

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Abortion rights activist rally

Abortion rights rally at the Washington Monument before a march to the U.S. Supreme Court, May 14, 2022. (Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images)

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The issue of abortion is considered Republicans’ biggest vulnerability going into the November elections, with Trump stating on several occasions that he believes abortion should be legislated by each state, and Republican candidates in swing states and districts tending to follow his position. 

With that in mind, Democrats have doubled down on abortion, bringing it to public attention whenever possible, and similarly looking to put Republican lawmakers on record with unfavorable votes such as those laid out by Schumer. 

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