Washington – A bomblanding before the Supreme Court in decades, which was published by Politico last Monday sparked protests and outrage from abortion rights advocates and quickly rekindled calls on Capitol Hill for Democrats to take action to protect access to abortion.
Written by Judge Samuel Alito and reportedly circulated to judges in February, the draft opinion indicated that a majority of judges appear ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, the historic 1973 decision that established the right to abortion. Such a move by the Supreme Court would upset 50 years of abortion rights and lead to a patchwork of state laws where access depends on where a person lives.
The Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of the document on Tuesday, but said it “does not represent a court decision or the final position of any member on the issues of the case.”
Although the opinion is a draft and it is possible for judges to change their votes before a decision is made – before the end of the court’s mandate in late June or early July in this case – the document has led to requests from part of the Democrats to mobilize in response, both at the polls and on the Capitol.
“Make no mistake, the blame for this decision falls directly on the Republican senators and on the Republicans of the Senate as a whole who have spent years pushing extremist judges, have spent years confirming three far-right judges to the Supreme Court but who in some so they say this day would never come, ”Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a Senate chamber remarks Tuesday. “But this day has come and we will fight it to the end”.
In a statement Tuesday morning before the court confirmed its authenticity, President Biden noted that he does not know “whether this draft is genuine or whether it reflects the court’s final decision,” but said his administration “will be ready when whatever sentence is passed “and urged voters to elect legislators who would codify abortion rights into law.
“[I]f the Court overturns Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect women’s right of choice. And it will be up to voters to elect pro-choice officials this November, “the president said.” At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to pass legislation codifying Roe., that I will work to approve and sign into law “.
Last year, the House passed a law strengthening access to abortion nationwide, but the equally divided Senate failed to push through the measure in February with a 46 to 48 vote that was far below the 60 votes needed to advance legislation.
In the wake of Politico’s report, a kill from Democrats in both chambers she asked the Senate to pass the measure, called the Women’s Health Protection Act. But she faces headwinds given the 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster, as 10 Republicans are expected to join Democrats to advance the bill on abortion rights and no one voted to do so earlier this year. Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, also voted with GOP senators against advancing the proposal.
However, Schumer said he expects the Senate to vote again on legislation that codifies the right to abortion into law.
“A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is very urgent and real,” he said. “We will vote to protect women’s right of choice and every American will see which side every senator stands.”
Two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, are in favor of the right to abortion, but have said the Women’s Health Protection Act is too broad. Instead, the couple introduced their own legislation in February that would codify the abortion rights established by Roe.
To bring the abortion rights bill to Mr. Biden’s desk, Democratic senators again said that the upper house should change its rules and do away with legislative filibuster.
“If #SCOTUS is going to legislate off the bench and turn back the 50-year clock on #RoeVWade, then the Senate must pass my Women’s Health Protection Act and if we are to eliminate filibuster to do so, we should too. that, “Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, tweeted.
“Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the country law in this country NOW,” Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who has sued the Democrats, said on Twitter. “And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there aren’t, we have to end the filibuster to approve it with 50 votes.”
Democrats in the House also supported the elimination of filibuster to protect abortion rights. But even that step is against strong odds, as both Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, oppose an end to filibuster.
Outside the confines of the Capitol, Democrats said the draft opinion as it is currently written emphasizes the importance of the elections.
“I tell the American people this: the November elections will have consequences, because the rights of 100 million women are now in the ballot,” said Schumer. “To help combat your court’s dire decision, I urge every American to make their voices heard this week and this year., To vote.”
Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, said the release should galvanize voters ahead of the November midterm, when Democrats try to keep a majority in the House and Senate.
“After having sounded these alarms, for years now: it’s time to break the glass. It’s time for every single person – in every single state – to realize that this has an impact on you, your choices, your rights” he said in a statement. “It’s not happening to someone else, in some other state, it’s happening everywhere and the highest court in the country is preparing to wrest your rights right now. We have to fight with everything we have right now.”