WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Thursday he supports an exception to the U.S. Senate filibuster to list Roe v. Wade in federal law, after the Supreme Court overturned the case last week which makes abortion a constitutional right.
“I believe we need to codify Roe v. Wade into law, and the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do it. And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like the right to vote, we should have an exception for that,” Biden told a news conference while attending a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.
Biden, who returns to the United States later Thursday, added that he is meeting with governors on Friday about abortion rights.
He said he planned to make further announcements at that time and ask governors “what action they think I should take as well.” The White House has not announced which governors will attend.
In a 50-50 Congress, Senate Democrats lack the votes to circumvent the filibuster, as two senators declared their opposition to changing the procedural tool, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia. As part of the filibuster, opponents of legislation can block its advancement unless there are 60 votes.
Biden in January called for an end to the Senate’s filibuster to pass suffrage legislation during a visit to the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta.
At the end of the press conference, Biden urged Americans to vote in the upcoming November election, as he did shortly after the decision was released.
US Senate Democrats have urged Biden to take “bold actions” to preserve access to abortion, because several States prohibit or limit abortion following the judgment.
Xavier Becerra, US Secretary of Health and Human Services promised tuesday to work to preserve access to abortion in the wake of the “despicable” U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade — though the department’s specific actions will depend on how states seeking to limit access to abortion proceed.
Vice President Kamala Harris also made comments on abortion rights Wednesday night, according to the White House press pool. She said Congress had to act, but “There must be votes in Congress to circumvent the filibuster and the votes are not there.”
Harris said Congress needs to have more pro-choice lawmakers.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, made similar remarks after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 ruling.
“Elect more pro-choice Democrats to save Roe and protect women’s right to make their own decisions about their bodies, not politicians,” he said Friday.
Schumer staged a floor vote in May on a bill that would have codified a national abortion right, but he could not pass the legislative filibuster by 60 votes from the chamber.