Progressive Democrats are increasingly frustrated about having Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., as the face in the Senate of restoring abortion rights, The Hill reported on Wednesday.
Kaine, who opposes abortion, introduced legislation with centrist Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, as well as Democratic centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona that they insist would codify the Roe v. Wade decision. But critics say the bill would actually fall short of doing so.
Reproductive rights groups slammed the legislation, declaring in a statement that "this bill has been written for a world that does not exist and would provide little solace in the nightmare we are living," Rolling Stone reported.
The concern among progressives has increased after a proposed constitutional amendment that would have eliminated abortions in Kansas was voted down in the state, according to The Hill.
"After Kansas, the idea that a pro-life white male senator has emerged as the face of the Democratic response by pushing legislation that falls far short of codifying Roe and still has no chance of passing is just impossible to justify," said one Democratic operative. "It would be one thing if he were actually able to move legislation, but everyone knows he can't, and it's an extreme example of how inept Democrats are at offense."
A Senate chief of staff pointed out angrily: "Why the hell, in a moment when the country is actually paying attention to this, when we're winning ballot initiatives, do you want to take the wind out of the sails? Why is this guy the face of this? It's bananas, really."
Since Murkowski and Collins are likely the only Republican senators who would back the measure, it would not have the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
The legislation pushed by Kaine would protect the right to an abortion until the fetus can survive outside the womb, meaning up to 24 weeks, but detractors, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, told NBC News that the bill "does not codify Roe [and] is not an obvious improvement over where we stand right now.”
However, some Democratic strategists insist it's a good strategy for Kaine to become the Senate's top advocate on the issue, with one saying, "You don't want to be represented by the extreme base. You want to be represented by the middle, who are closer to the median voter on abortion," The Hill reported.
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