Reporters incorrectly claim abortion bill was blocked by a GOP filibuster

The Women’s Health Protection Act. which intended to guarantee abortion access throughout the nation, failed to reach the 60 votes required for it to pass. The final vote was 51-49 across party lines with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin joining the 50 Republicans in voting no.

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Although the bill failed to reach majority support, some reporters described the vote as failing to be passed due to a filibuster from Republicans.

Associated Press White House reporter Zeke Miller reported on the vote tweeting, “Senate Democrats’ bill to write Roe v. Wade into law blocked by GOP-led filibuster as Supreme Court weighs abortion case.”

CNN’s Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju similarly tweeted, “49-51, Senate Dems fall 11 votes shy of breaking a Republican-led filibuster to advance bill on abortion rights. Manchin the lone Democratic NO vote. No Republicans voted in the affirmative.” 

Manu Raju wrote "49-51, Senate Dems fall 11 votes shy of breaking a Republican-led filibuster to advance bill on abortion rights. Manchin the lone Democratic NO vote. No Republicans voted in the affirmative." 

Manu Raju wrote “49-51, Senate Dems fall 11 votes shy of breaking a Republican-led filibuster to advance bill on abortion rights. Manchin the lone Democratic NO vote. No Republicans voted in the affirmative.”  (Twitter)

ABC News Coordinating Congressional Reporter Trish Turner later wrote, “Republicans successfully filibuster the Dems’ abortion rights bill. Schumer says after that this is just the beginning of votes on this issue.”

Trish Turner tweeted "Republicans successfully filibuster the Dems' abortion rights bill. Schumer says after that this is just the beginning of votes on this issue."

Trish Turner tweeted “Republicans successfully filibuster the Dems’ abortion rights bill. Schumer says after that this is just the beginning of votes on this issue.” (Twitter)

The pattern continued outside of Twitter with an MSNBC report of the vote by Steve Benen describing the vote under the headline “GOP filibuster derails bill to codify Roe v. Wade protections.”

“The Women’s Health Protection Act, designed to codify Roe v. Wade protections, was derailed today by a Republican filibuster, but the fight isn’t over,” Benen wrote.

NBC’s Sahil Kapur also promoted the headline “Senate Democrats’ bill to keep abortion legal nationwide falls to GOP-led filibuster.”

MSNBC headline reads "GOP filibuster derails bill to codify Roe v. Wade protections."

MSNBC headline reads “GOP filibuster derails bill to codify Roe v. Wade protections.” (MSNBC)

The misleading description of the vote extended to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who called for ending the filibuster shortly after the vote.

“I believe in democracy, and I don’t believe the minority should have the ability to block things that the majority wants to do. That’s not in the Constitution. What we’re talking about right now are the individual rights and liberties of half the population of the United States of America. I think that’s enough to say it’s time to get rid of the filibuster,” Warren said.

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Several commentators called out this framing of the vote, ignoring that the bill couldn’t even reach majority support in the Senate.

National Review senior writer David Harsanyi tweeted, “Filibuster. Also, Dems don’t have the votes to pass it with a simple majority.”

David Harsanyi tweeted "Filibuster. Also, Dems don't have the votes to pass it with a simple majority."

David Harsanyi tweeted “Filibuster. Also, Dems don’t have the votes to pass it with a simple majority.” (Twitter)

National Journalism Center Director Becket Adams wrote, “the bill didn’t codify Roe and it wasn’t blocked by a filibuster. it failed to get 50 votes. but other than that, some solid work by the AP.”

Becket Adams tweeted "the bill didn't codify Roe and it wasn't blocked by a filibuster. it failed to get 50 votes. but other than that, some solid work by the AP."

Becket Adams tweeted “the bill didn’t codify Roe and it wasn’t blocked by a filibuster. it failed to get 50 votes. but other than that, some solid work by the AP.” (Twitter)

Media Research Center Deputy Managing Editor Nick Fondacaro responded to Miller’s tweet noting, “This is the president of the White House Correspondent Association. Everything about this is a lie. It wouldn’t have codified Roe and it wasn’t blocked by a filibuster. Why are you lying?”

Nick Fondacaro tweeted "This is the president of the White House Correspondent Association. Everything about this is a lie. It wouldn’t have codified Roe and it wasn’t blocked by a filibuster. Why are you lying?"

Nick Fondacaro tweeted “This is the president of the White House Correspondent Association. Everything about this is a lie. It wouldn’t have codified Roe and it wasn’t blocked by a filibuster. Why are you lying?” (Twitter)

Constitutional Law Professor Adrian Vermeule tweeted, “Civics teachers around the country alarmed as they see ‘filibuster’ redefined to mean ‘loses 51-49’”

Constitutional Law Professor Adrian Vermeule tweeted "Civics teachers around the country alarmed as they see ‘filibuster’ redefined to mean ‘loses 51-49’"

Constitutional Law Professor Adrian Vermeule tweeted “Civics teachers around the country alarmed as they see ‘filibuster’ redefined to mean ‘loses 51-49’” (Twitter)

The Women’s Health Protection Act originally passed in the House in 2021 but was later blocked in the Senate in February 2022. Several liberals have criticized Manchin for refusing to vote with the Democrats in favor of the bill.

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