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WASHINGTON – Federal legislation that would protect abortion rights nationwide and supersede state laws like Texas’ six-week abortion ban is expected to stall out in the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill, known as the Women’s Health Protection Act, has yet to garner the support it would need to overcome a likely Republican filibuster. When an earlier version of the legislation was considered in February, Democratic leaders could not rally enough senators to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to begin debate and eventually proceed to a vote on the bill.

When a draft Supreme Court opinion leaked last week indicating that a five-justice majority on the court is poised to end constitutional protection for abortion rights nationwide, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate will again hold a procedural vote to begin debate on the legislation .

But even senators considered key swing votes like Susan Collins, R-Maine, have already said they will not support it.

“Every American is going to see where every Senator stands on protecting one of the most important rights a woman has regarding her own body,” Schumer said Monday. “I want to be clear: this week’s vote is not an abstract exercise; “This is as real and as high stakes as it gets, and Senate Republicans will no longer be able to hide from the horror they’ve unleashed upon women in America.”

The bill would cement Roe vs. Wade protections into federal law and establish a woman’s legal right to an abortion through congressional legislation rather than previous Supreme Court decisions.

It would nullify Texas’ six-week ban, known as Senate Bill 8, and other abortion bans that directly flaunt the precedent established in the 1973 landmark Roe decision – a case from Dallas County that recognized a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy until the fetus is viable outside the womb. That’s about 22 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

The procedural vote in February to begin debate on the measure failed 46-48, with both Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz voting no.

The Senate is currently split 50-50 between the parties, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker vote and giving Democrats a slim majority. Republicans have remained united in their opposition to the Women’s Health Protection Act, which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called the “most extreme abortion on demand bill ever seen.”

“This radical pro-abortion bill that Senator Schumer has set for a vote on tomorrow allows for abortions at any point during a woman’s pregnancy up until the time of delivery,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “This extreme legislation would invalidate all state laws that limit abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. This would not just impact pro-life red states. This change is so radical that it would invalidate existing laws in blue states as well. ”

Though the bill would not legalize abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, it would prohibit states from enacting restrictions – such as waiting periods and ultrasound requirements – on abortions before the fetus is viable outside the womb and in post-viability cases when the patient’s life or health is at risk.

The legislation first passed out of the House in September. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Promised to bring the bill to the floor after Texas’ SB 8 went into effect on Sept. 1 and the Supreme Court refused to block it.

Though the bill is largely expected to fail in the Senate, Democratic leadership has been under pressure from abortion rights advocates to hold a vote anyway. Many reproductive rights advocates see federal abortion legislation as the best way to respond to the Supreme Court indicating it is prepared to overturn Roe.

The court is currently weighing a decision on a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. More than 20 states already have laws to ban or dramatically restrict abortion if Roe is overturned.

The court first allowed Texas’ SB 8 to take effect on Sept. 1. Challenges filed against the law brought questions over its constitutionality back to the high court in November, where justices once again let the law remain in place and ordered it back to lower courts for further deliberation.

During a call with reporters in February, advocates with the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented Texas abortion providers in their challenge to SB 8, urged the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.

Marc Hearron, the attorney who delivered oral arguments on behalf of Texas providers at the Supreme Court in November, said what’s happening in Texas should be a warning for the rest of the country.

“This is a preview of what will happen on a much larger scale if Roe falls,” Hearron said. “It’s now on Congress to act and do what the Supreme Court will not. Women’s The Women’s Health Protection Act would enshrine federal statutory protection for the right to abortion in the federal statutes, and that would give us a tool to fight back against state laws like SB 8. ”

May 1 marked eight months since SB 8 took effect in Texas. The law has drastically limited abortion access in the state, leading many women to travel out of state to access the procedure.

Planned Parenthood clinics in neighboring states reported an 800% increase in the number of Texas patients they saw in the first few months after SB 8 took effect.

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