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U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, John Cornyn poised to once again vote against bill to legalize abortions

U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speak together during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett in Washington, D.C., in 2020.
Stefani Reynolds
Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speak together during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett in Washington, D.C., in 2020.

In February, Cruz and Cornyn voted against a similar bill that was inspired after Texas passed its abortion restriction law.

WASHINGTON — Motivated by what appears to be an imminent threat to Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Senate is set to once again take up a long-shot bill that would codify abortion rights into federal law on Wednesday.

U.S. Sens.John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas are poised to vote against the bill.

“It is a radical abortion bill, which sadly reflects where Democrats today are,” Cruz told Fox News over the weekend.

The renewed urgency behind the vote comes a week after Politico reported on a leaked draft of a majority opinion overruling Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of the draft but cautioned that it does not necessarily reflect a final vote. If the high court does take action to end Roe, Texas has a “trigger law” that would ban the procedure in the state.

To defeat a filibuster, a total of 60 Senate votes will be needed to move the bill to the floor, but Democrats are unlikely to garner even enough votes for a simple majority. At least one Democrat, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, is signaling that he will vote against the bill, as will the few Republican senators who support abortion rights.

Democratic leaders say their priority is to put senators on the record on abortion, heading into the fall midterms.

“Every American will see how every senator stands,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York on Sunday, per Reuters.

Cornyn and Cruz have made their anti-abortion stances central to their political careers over the years. But ahead for them if Roe is overturned — particularly if Republicans take control of the Senate next year — is whether they would support a federal ban on abortion rather than leaving the issue to be decided by state legislatures.

“I don’t think it’s really an appropriate topic for Congress to be passing a national law on,” Cornyn said, according to CNN.

Cruz was less clear on a federal ban, telling NBC News that “contested policy issues” should be resolved through “democratically elected bodies.”

“I have supported numerous federal bills, and I’m sure there will be more pieces of federal legislation that are considered,” Cruz said.

In a sign of heightened tension surrounding the Politico revelations, Cornyn joined with Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons to push for a bill that would provide family members of U.S. Supreme Court justices with increased security protection. It passed unanimously.

In September 2021, the House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in reaction to the Texas law restricting abortion that went into effect on Sept. 1. That bill passed along party lines among Texas U.S. House members, with the exception of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, who is the single anti-abortion member of his party in that chamber.

That bill failed a Senate procedural vote on Feb. 28, with Cruz and Cornyn in opposition to the legislation.

Abby Livingston joined the Tribune in 2014 as the publication's first Washington Bureau Chief. Previously, she covered political campaigns, House leadership and Congress for Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper. A seventh-generation Texan, Abby graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She grew up in Fort Worth and has appeared in an episode of "The Bold and The Beautiful." Abby pitched and produced political segments for CNN and worked as an editor for The Hotline, National Journal’s campaign tipsheet. Abby began her journalism career as a desk assistant at NBC News in Washington, working her way up to the political unit, where she researched stories for Nightly News, the Today Show and Meet the Press. In keeping with the Trib’s great history of hiring softball stars, Abby is a three-time MVP (the most in game history —Ed.) for The Bad News Babes, the women’s press softball team that takes on female members of Congress in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball breast cancer charity game.