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Regional News

Bill that would have codified abortion protections fails to pass U.S. Senate

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking member, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate health committee, introduced legislation to address health care issues such as surprise medical bills and high drug costs.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
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Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking member, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate health committee, introduced legislation to address health care issues such as surprise medical bills and high drug costs.

Monday, the U-S Senate failed to pass a bill that would have codified the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe versus Wade decision. The bill stalled as state legislatures, including Idaho, work to restrict the procedure further.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-reproductive rights research group, estimates demand for abortion in Washington State will go up 385% if Roe versus Wade is overturned.

The federal bill would have codified Supreme Court precedent, extending protections to both doctors and patients. Before the vote Monday, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, said the restrictions many states are now considering would create a system where abortion is available only for the wealthy.

“Even more so than today, women who don't have the money, or the time off, or in some other way, don't have the means, won't be able to get them.” She said. “This cruelty will fall the hardest on women of color, women who have low-incomes, women in rural parts of the country, and the LGBTQ community.”

The bill was widely expected to fail, and leading up to the vote, party leaders said it would put those who voted against it on the record on abortion.

Figures provided by Planned Parenthood of Eastern Washington and North Idaho show clinics are already seeing more patients from Texas, where state law allows people to sue anyone who helps someone obtain an abortion, and Idaho, which is considering a law that would allow family members of patients to sue. Providers and abortion access funders have said they are preparing for an influx of out-of-state, uninsured patients, which will max out their current capacity.