A procedural vote on abortion restrictions scheduled for Monday has been met with political fanfare even if it's expected to fall far short of the 60-vote threshold needed to advance in the Senate.
Just over a week after the annual national anti-abortion march in Washington, the Senate will take up the cloture vote on a bill that would ban women from obtaining abortions 20 weeks after conception.
Titled the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the bill is seen as a key rallying point for social conservatives ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
"A vote would make our constituents immediately aware of the members of Congress who support elective late-term abortions and oppose extending legal protection to pain-capable unborn children nationwide," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a public letter sent during the anti-abortion march.
Women's healthcare advocates say even though this vote is expected to fail the future of legal abortion is increasingly a guessing game.
Twenty states have already passed regulations banning women from seeking abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and President Donald Trump has outspokenly supported anti-abortion groups and isn't expected to block legislation should it pass.
"Part of this depends on the election results for 2018," says Heather Boonstra, director of public policy at the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization for reproductive issues. "It's still the case that Trump has the time left in his administration to rejigger the courts, and that's ultimately where this starts to matter."
For a more conservative court, Boonstra notes, "a restriction like this could be very enticing."