Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced this week that the chamber would vote on a bill that legalizes abortion. The effort, however, is already doomed to failure.
After a leak of a draft from SCOTUS Justice Samuel Alito revealed that the court had overturned abortion precedents, Dem lawmakers began pushing for codification of abortion into federal legislation.
“It is our goal for the Senate to have a vote on legislation that would codify the right to abortion in law,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.
However, as Senator Dick Durbin acknowledged, the goal of such a vote is more about political theater than legalizing abortion. “We want to make sure that each senator is on the record about their position on Roe v. Wade and the court’s decision,” Durbin admitted, according to Politico.
But Democrats would need 60 votes to pass a bill codifying abortion, or just 50 if the filibuster is eliminated.
However, moderate Democratic senators who have so far refused to endorse eliminating the filibuster reaffirmed their views on Tuesday.
What did that say?
“The filibuster is the only safeguard we have in democracy,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) observed, according to the New York Times. He did not address the leaked opinion specifically.
Meanwhile, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said she would not support the elimination of the filibuster, saying that it has defended women’s health.
“Protections in the Senate, which safeguard women’s access to medical care, have been utilized half-a-dozen times in the last ten years and are even more essential now than ever,” Sinema stated.
A spokesperson for Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-Maine) abortion rights bill, which was just introduced, also said that Collins’ stand on the filibuster has not altered since the leaked opinion draft was published.
Collins’ stance on the filibuster has not changed, according to Anne Clark, a spokesperson for Collins.
Democrats’ effort to preserve abortion will be killed by a 50-50 split Senate and moderate lawmakers unwillingness to abolish the fillibuster.