The Senate blocked the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) from moving forward Wednesday, which would have enshrined abortion rights in federal law and blocked states from imposing restrictions on the procedure, leaving Democrats with few options to take federal action on abortion rights—though the The White House and Senate are still expected to move forward with other, narrower proposals.

Key Facts

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Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who voted against WHPA Wednesday saying the bill would have gone too far, have already introduced a different billthe Reproductive Choice Act, that would codify abortion rights but still allow states to impose some restrictions.

That bill is unlikely to move forward, as 17 reproductive rights organizations said in a letter the legislation “would not protect abortion rights” because some severe restrictions could still be allowed—like 15-week abortion bans—and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he has no plans to take it up.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told ABC News Tuesday he’s been negotiating with Collins on updating the Reproductive Choice Act to make it more bipartisan, which could have a better chance at getting a vote and garnering more support than WHPA—though it’s still a longshot it would get the 60 Senate votes needed to pass .

Democratic lawmakers will likely also try to vote on narrower proposals that deal with specific abortion-related issues and could be more likely to get through, the Washington Post reports—like enshrining exemptions for rape and incest into law—with lawmakers saying the WHPA vote Wednesday is the first of “many” Congress will take on abortion rights.

The White House is mulling executive actions on abortion, Reuters reportssuch as directing the Food and Drug Administration to make medication abortion more widely available and making it possible to order the abortion pills online.

The Biden administration is also considering directing the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to let Americans use federal Medicaid funds on travel expenses if they travel to another state to get an abortion, Reuters reports.


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