Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, one of the last Capitol Hill lawmakers calling himself a “pro-life Democrat,” said Tuesday he would support a bill to enshrine abortion rights into federal law. following the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade.
Casey, who is in her third term, is not just any Democrat in the abortion debate. Her father, a former two-term governor of Pennsylvania who opposed abortion rights, signed legislation that spawned another landmark abortion case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Now Senator Casey is in a position to watch the Supreme Court potentially overturn Roe v. Wade two years before his re-election while the militants of his party are mobilizing against such a decision.
He is presenting his new post in reaction to what he calls an unanticipated move by Republicans in Congress to try to effectively ban abortion nationwide.
Casey said he would support the Democrats’ bill, if there was a final vote on it. And he said he never voted for — and doesn’t support — a complete ban on abortion.
“I think a lot of Americans are just beginning to understand the Republican position, which is, in many cases, not just a ban, but in many states a ban without exception,” Casey said in an interview.
He told Politico in 2018 “the description of the pro-life Democrat is accurate:” for him.
But he told the AP on Tuesday that Republicans in Congress have gone from decades saying they want states to have a say in abortion to pursuing legislation to ban it everywhere after six weeks – before many women even know they are pregnant.
“I think it’s a new and substantial development in their approach,” he said.
A vote on legislation by Senate Democrats to preserve abortion rights nationwide will not be debated if Democrats fail to secure the votes needed to circumvent procedural hurdles. They are expected to fail in a test vote on Wednesday.
Casey won his Senate races campaigning as an anti-abortion Democrat, even as defenders accuse him of abandoning the cause thanks to his more moderate stances.
“Because of his actions and his words, I believe Senator Casey has abandoned the legitimate use of the pro-life label,” said Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which opposes the right to abortion.
After the draft notice was released last week, Casey said he had “serious concerns about what reversing nearly 50 years of legal precedent will mean for women in states passing bans near or total abortion”.
As for the Senate, he said, “Congress should work to reduce the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies and do much more to support women and families.”
In the past, he has lobbied for policies he says have proven effective in reducing the number of abortions, such as increasing support for health care, contraception and programs that support women. and children.
Yet Casey, in 2018 and 2020, broke with Democrats by voting to advance bills banning abortions after 20 weeks and said he supported the so-called Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funding for health care. ‘abortion.
But he also voted with Democrats to support federal funding for Planned Parenthood and access to contraception.
Casey took on former President Donald Trump’s three Supreme Court nominees, who now make up half of his conservative bloc.
Levy reported from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.