Democrats’ effort to secure Roe v. Wade falls to filibuster

<p>Abortion rights activists protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 11, 2022 in Washington. A draft opinion suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a Politico report. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)</p>

Jose Luis Magana

Abortion rights activists protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 11, 2022 in Washington. A draft opinion suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a Politico report. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate fell far short Wednesday in a rushed effort toward enshrining Roe v. Wade abortion access as federal law, blocked by a Republican filibuster in a blunt display of the nation’s partisan divide over the landmark court decision and the limits of legislative action.

The almost party-line tally promises to be the first of several efforts in Congress to preserve the nearly 50-year-old court ruling, which declares a constitutional right to abortion services but is at serious risk of being overturned this summer by a conservative Supreme Court.

President Joe Biden called on the Congress controlled by Democrats to pass legislation to protect abortion services for millions of Americans. But his party’s slim majority proved unable to overcome the filibuster led by Republicans, who have been working for decades to install conservative Supreme Court justices and end Roe v. Wade. The vote was 51-49 against proceeding, with 60 votes needed to move ahead.

“The American people are watching,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of the vote. “The public will not forget which side of the vote senators fall on today.”

Congress has battled for years over abortion policy, but the Wednesday vote to take up a House-passed bill was given new urgency after the disclosure of a draft Supreme Court opinion to overturn the Roe decision that many had believed to be settled law.

The outcome of the conservative-majority court’s actual ruling, expected this summer, is sure to reverberate around the country and on the campaign trail ahead of the fall midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress.

Read the full story and more Roe v. Wade updates: