Image via screenshot
Image via screenshot

A measure to advance legislation that would protect abortion access in Michigan and across the country was defeated in the US Senate.

On Wednesday, both Michigan Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters voted to advance the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would enshrine the right to abortion care into federal law and guarantee abortion access free from medically unnecessary restrictions, limitations, and bans that delay, and at times, completely obstruct, access to abortion.

“I strongly support the women of this country,” Stabenow said Wednesday. “I believe in them. I believe in us. I trust them. I trust us. And this is about their choice, not a bunch of politicians deciding what’s best for them.”

Despite widespread public support for legal abortion, the bill was defeated, as only 49 Senators—all Democrats—voted to open debate on the bill, far shy of the 60 votes needed in the Senate. 

The legislation passed the US House last September.

Democrats held the vote one week after digital news site Politico published a leaked draft opinion showing that the increasingly radical Supreme Court is poised to overturn its own ruling in Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed Americans the right to make their own family planning decisions, including having an abortion, without government interference. 

If the Women’s Health Protection Act were to become law, it would render such a decision moot and override any state laws banning or restricting abortion access, guaranteeing access to care nationwide. 

Since the vote failed, however, abortion could soon become illegal in roughly half of all states, if the Court follows through with striking down Roe. This includes Michigan, where a 1931 law banning abortion will likely go back into effect. Under that law, it would be a felony for medical providers to perform abortions, unless it’s to save the life of a pregnant woman.

READ MORE: A Michigan Nurse Gives an Inside Look at What Losing ‘Roe’ Could Mean for Patients