Jun 5, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Senate GOP blocks bill to protect birth control access

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference on the Right to Contraception Act outside the U.S. Capitol

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference on the Right to Contraception Act outside the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked a bill that protects access to contraception from moving forward on Wednesday afternoon.

Why it matters: The vote is part of a reproductive rights blitz planned by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Democrats around the 2-year anniversary of the end of Roe v. Wade — intended to put pressure on the GOP on one of their most vulnerable election issues.

  • The vote failed 51 to 39, as senators headed out of town for the week — several to Normandy, France for the 80-year anniversary of D-Day.
  • Just two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.) — voted with Democrats to move forward on the bill, but not enough to reach the 60-vote threshold to overcome the filibuster.

What to watch: Schumer changed his vote to no, a mechanism that will allow him to bring the bill back for a vote later.

  • He also set up a vote on a bill on in vitro fertilization for next week.

What they're saying: "I plan to vote to proceed. Even though I believe the bill needs amendments to protect the religious freedom of health care providers," Collins told Axios on Tuesday.

  • "If it's a messaging bill, my message is I support a woman's access to contraception. Pretty simple," Murkowski told reporters on Wednesday before voting yes.
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