Biden Endorses Ending Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

Source: www.nytimes.com : 2022-06-30 15:32:21 : Michael D. Shear

MADRID — President Biden on Thursday condemned what he called the “outrageous behavior” of the Supreme Court in deciding to overturn Roe v. Wade and said for the first time that he supported ending the filibuster to protect a woman’s right to an abortion.

“We have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law, and the way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that,” Mr. Biden said. “And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, we provide an exception for this, or an exception to the filibuster for this action.”

It was the second time Mr. Biden has urged Congress to scrap its rules requiring a 60-vote threshold in the Senate to pass a specific piece of legislation. In January, he called on lawmakers to make an exception to filibuster rules to pass legislation to add voting rights protections.

But the president and his allies in the Senate have so far failed to rally enough support to make such exceptions to the filibuster. Among those who have expressed staunch opposition are two moderate Democratic senators: Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.

Speaking at a news conference in Madrid at the end of a weeklong series of meetings with allies in Europe, Mr. Biden called the abortion decision by the court “destabilizing” for the country and said he could understand why Americans are frustrated with the direction taken by the court’s conservative majority.

“It is a mistake, in my view for the Supreme Court to do what it did,” Mr. Biden said. “I feel extremely strongly that I’m going to do everything in my power, which I legally can do in terms of executive orders, as well as push the Congress and the public.”

The country has been roiled by the court’s ruling, which ended a half-century of legal protections for women seeking an abortion. The court turned the issue over to politicians, including state legislatures, many of which have already passed abortion bans triggered by the court’s decision.

The decision by the majority of the justices has prompted intense anger among Democrats and other abortion rights supporters, while gratifying the Christian right and conservatives who oppose abortion. The ruling is poised to reshape American politics just months before voters go to the polls for elections that will determine which party controls Congress.

The president urged Americans who support abortion rights to vote against lawmakers who support the court’s ruling.

“If the polling data is correct and you think this decision by the court was an outrage or a significant mistake, vote, show up and vote,” Mr. Biden said. “Vote in the off-year and vote, vote, vote. That’s how we’ll change it.”

Mr. Biden has previously denounced the decision, calling it “the realization of extreme ideology and a tragic error.” He has pledged to do what he can through the power of his office to help women who live in Republican-controlled states access abortion where it remains legal.

But the president remains under pressure from members of his party to do more.

Asked by a reporter whether he is the right messenger to lead the fight for abortion rights in the wake of the court’s decision, Mr. Biden appeared to bristle at the question.

“Yeah, “I’m the president of the United States of America,” he said. “That makes me the best messenger.”

The president, a lawyer by education, cited his legal experience saying he had written “a number of law review articles” about the Ninth Amendment and the 14th Amendment and why privacy should be recognized as a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

“They’ve just wiped it all out. So I’m the only president they got,” he said.

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