Can elimination of the filibuster protect abortion rights?


FILE – This Sept. 18, 2021, file photo shows the East Front of the U.S, Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(NewsNation) — A leaked document obtained by Politico that indicates the Supreme Court is preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade sparked immediate calls for lawmakers to pass legislation to protect women’s access to abortion.

Since Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate, so eliminating the filibuster is a step that would assist in ensuring the passage of that legislation.

A filibuster is a political procedure that prolongs debate on proposed legislation to in effect delay or entirely prevent a vote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed that if the leaked draft decision stands, the Senate will vote on legislation to uphold women’s access to abortions.

With the filibuster removed, the passage of the legislation would then require only 50 votes to codify Roe v. Wade, protecting abortion under federal law.

The landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision constitutionally protects a woman’s right to have an abortion.

How likely is it that the filibuster will be removed?

“At this point, we don’t think they can do that,” The Hill reporter Julia Manchester said during a Tuesday appearance on “Morning in America.” “There’s just simply too close of a margin in the Senate. And we don’t know how Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema … who have been so opposed to, you know, abolishing the filibuster, how they would essentially feel about this.”

There were fewer questions on where other members of the Senate stood on the issue.

Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., tweeted, “Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW. And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes.”

According to Manchester, “it’s very touch-and-go with this situation.”

“It’s not lost on us that this is all happening just months before a major midterm election here in the United States,” she said. “You are hearing Democratic Senate candidates calling for that filibuster to be abolished.”

According to NewsNation reporter Joe Khalil, “As the primary season continues, this is going to be front and center. And Democrats certainly want to make it an issue that is front and center.”

Ohio’s primary election will be the first test of the strength of former President Donald Trump’s midterm candidate endorsements and candidates there take opposing views on efforts to eliminate the filibuster.

“This has been one of the animating issues of this campaign that I’ve heard from people all over our state,” Morgan Harper, Democratic candidate running for the Ohio Senate seat, said during an appearance Tuesday on “Morning in America.” “They’re concerned about this right, because our state legislature already radicalized and so this is why I have supported getting rid of the filibuster, codifying Roe v. Wade into law.”

Harper also called for a rebalancing of the Supreme Court “because it has become extreme.”

For Jane Timken, a Republican candidate running for the Ohio Senate seat, ending the filibuster “is wrong.”

“This is another attack on our institutions,” she said. “But I will always stand up strong for life. I’m a pro-life candidate.”

In swing-state Wisconsin, two Senate candidates, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, put out statements urging the Senate to eliminate the filibuster.

Barns tweeted, “The Senate must immediately act to eliminate the filibuster and protect abortion rights and access to reproductive health care.”

And Nelson tweeted, “On my first day in the Senate, I will co-sign legislation to abolish the filibuster and codify Roe v. Wade into law.”

Khalil said if there is one issue that could possibly fire up Democrats and make life a lot harder in November for Republicans, it would be this.

“It’s obviously a long way away from November but for now, this is the one issue Republicans were looking at that they considered could be a serious challenge for them,” he said. “And (it’s) something that fires up Democratic voters.”

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