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Biden Slams the Supreme Court, Calls on Congress to Eliminate the Filibuster to Force State to Allow Abortion on Demand

by | Jun 30, 2022

Jennifer Popik, J.D. Director of Federal Legislation National Right to Life

Today, President Biden, while on the world stage in a NATO conference in Madrid, was asked if the U.S. was on the right track as a nation.  Biden took the opportunity to blast the Supreme Court as “destabilizing” stating it showed “outrageous behavior” for simply issuing an opinion that he disagrees with.  Biden was referring to the recent ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overruled the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.   This decision returns the abortion issue to Congress and the state legislatures.

In response, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a statement which reads in part,

Attacking a core American institution like the Supreme Court from the world stage is below the dignity of the President. Beyond that, President Biden’s attacks on the Court are unmerited and dangerous. He’s upset that the Court said the people, through their elected representatives, will have a say on abortion policy. That does not destabilize democracy – it affirms it. By contrast, it is behavior like the President’s that undermines equal justice and the rule of law.

The President went on to say, “I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law and the way to do that is to make sure that the Congress votes to do that…..And if the filibuster gets in the way … we provide an exception for this.”

While any effort to “codify Roe v. Wade” would be likely to fall well short of the 60 votes needed, it is due to the fact that the filibuster remains intact in the U.S. Senate.  While support among Senate Democrats to end the filibuster rule has grown in recent years, they would need 50 votes to do so. Currently, Sens. Manchin (D-Wv.) and Sinema (D-Az.) have committed to keeping the filibuster intact. 

Today, CNN reporter Manu Raju posted on Twitter, “Manchin’s position opposing reducing 60-vote threshold for [overcoming] filibuster also hasn’t changed despite Biden’s comments, per spox [spokesperson].”  NBC reporter Sahil Kapur similarly tweeted, “For those wondering: Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin remain opposed to a filibuster exception for Roe/abortion protections, per their offices, despite Biden’s call today.”  

With midterm elections rapidly closing in, there has been no shortage of pro-abortion votes taken in Congress, but none of them have even garnered a simple majority in the Senate, let alone the 60 votes needed to advance. 

The Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate and House have voted three times this Congress on a bill they claim will codify Roe v. Wade. However, the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act,” would go far beyond codifying Roe, invalidating laws upheld by the Court in the time since Roe

On May 9th, 2022 (shortly after the leaked Dobbs draft opinion became public) Majority Leader Schumer delivered floor remarks after filing cloture to set up a vote on the radical so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” (S. 4132).  He said in part,

It will be one of the most important questions this chamber confronts in decades, because for the first time in fifty years, women in America face the real possibility of living in a world where the protections of Roe v. Wade are a thing of the past. It will set up a situation where our children, women children, female children have less rights than their grandparents, something that is so un-American, taking away rights, stepping backward on rights in such a dramatic way.

This May vote failed by a vote of 49 to 51.  Nearly identical legislation was voted down by the Senate in March as well. Neither a single Republican nor Sen. Joe Manchin (D-Wv.) supports the legislation. 

However, the Democrats embrace of running roughshod over even the most common-sense state abortion restriction is complete.  49 of 50 current Democrat Senators co-sponsor the measure, and 218 Democrat House members voted for the measure (see here).

The so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” would enshrine into law abortion-on-demand and would overturn existing pro-life laws and prevent new protective laws from being enacted at the state and federal levels. This bill seeks to strip away from elected lawmakers the ability to provide even the most minimal protections for unborn children, at any stage of their pre-natal development. 

 This legislation would invalidate nearly all existing state limitations on abortion and prohibit states from adopting new limitations in the future, including various types of laws specifically upheld as constitutionally permissible by the U.S. Supreme Court. Further, it would invalidate most previously enacted federal limits on abortion, including federal conscience protection laws and most, if not all, limits on government funding of abortion.

Should Democrats gain seats in the Senate this fall, it is extremely likely that they would eliminate the filibuster and only require simple majority votes to pass sweeping legislation like the “Women’s Health Protection Act.” 

In press release responding to the Dobbs decision Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life stated, “This is a great day for preborn children and their mothers. The Court has correctly decided that a right to abortion is not in the constitution, thereby allowing the people, through their elected representatives, to have a voice in this very important decision.” 

The release went on to state:

In the majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, the High Court noted:

Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.

Elections have consequences, and it is critical now, more than ever, to elect pro-life representatives to both Congress and state houses across this country. 

Categories: Joe Biden