Biden says he supports filibuster exception for abortion rights legislation

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 last week overturned the case that established abortion as 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 have declared their opposition to changing the procedural tool, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona 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 voting rights 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.

U.S. Senate Democrats have urged Biden to take “bold steps” to preserve access to abortion as several states ban or restrict abortion in the wake of the ruling.

US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra pledged on Tuesday to work to preserve access to abortion following the ‘despicable’ US Supreme Court ruling 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 needs to act, but “there have to be votes in Congress to get around the filibuster and the votes aren’t 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 right to abortion, but he could not overcome the House’s 60-vote legislative filibuster.


This story was republished from Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.

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