The bill would have prohibited most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy
The U.S. Senate on Monday afternoon rejected a bill that would ban most late-term abortions. While the bill received 51 votes, it failed to get the 60 votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the time at which it has been scientifically proven that fetuses can feel pain. An exception was made for cases in which the life of the mother was at risk and for babies conceived in rape or incest.
The measure, which the Trump administration had indicated the president would sign if it had passed, enjoyed popular support—a 2017 Marist survey found 6 in 10 Americans favored a 20-week ban—and could emerge as an issue in upcoming re-election battles. An identical bill passed the House in October.
In 2015 the Senate voted on a similar measure. Three Democrats—Senators Bob Casey (Pa.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.)—who had voted for the ban then, voted against it this time. They are all up for re-election this year in states that were carried by President Trump in 2016.
Before the vote took place Senator Graham told his colleagues who supported the measure that their day would come.
“To those who believe in this issue, we will be back for another day,” Graham, said according to a New York Times report.
“You’re on the right side of history,” he said. “You’re where America will be. It’s just a matter of time before we get there.”