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Siding With Majority of Americans on Abortion Access, Senate Blocks 20-Week Ban

"If the anti-choice GOP continues to be out-of-step with the values of hard-working women and families, we'll make sure they pay the consequences at the ballot box in November."

The Senate rejected a measure that would make abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy illegal, with providers risking up to five years in jail if they performed the procedure. (Photo: Victoria Pickering/Flickr/cc)

Women's rights groups applauded Tuesday as the Senate voted against a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In a statement, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) noted that the ban likely would not have stood up in court if it had passed, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that women should have access to safe, legal abortions, especially when maternal or fetal health are at risk—and characterized it as a "distracting" symbolic vote.

"As the clock ticks for Washington to approve a budget and find a solution for Dreamers, the Senate wasted time on an unconstitutional abortion ban," said Nancy Northrup, president of the organization. "This vote was a distraction. While it was stopped in it tracks, it’s clear that anti-choice politicians and Senate leadership are prioritizing chipping away at constitutional freedoms over keeping the lights on and supporting policies the American people want."

"As the clock ticks for Washington to approve a budget and find a solution for Dreamers, the Senate wasted time on an unconstitutional abortion ban."—Nancy Northrup, CRR

The bill was rejected in a 51-46 vote, compared to a 54-42 vote when it was last defeated in 2015. Three Democrats—Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—voted in favor of the measure, while Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) opposed it.

Ilyse Hogue, head of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the focus on this bill byanti-choice Republicans' "reveals their true priorities: to punish women, ban abortion, and try to score an ideological win to appeal to their fringe base."

"The fact that fewer Senators voted for this legislation than two years ago demonstrates that the country is catching up to the reality of these situations and demanding sanity in our legislation," Hogue added. "If the anti-choice GOP continues to be out-of-step with the values of hard working women and families, we'll make sure they pay the consequences at the ballot box in November."

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