Democrats gear up for a dry run on saving abortion rights

Between a barn-burning speech by Elizabeth Warren and careful statements from less pro-choice senators, the battle lines on the fight to save the rights enshrined by Roe are becoming clearer

Eric Garcia
Wednesday 04 May 2022 14:23
Comments

I’m angry’: Incensed Elizabeth Warren calls on Senate to protect Roe v Wade

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’d put forward a vote on abortion legislation after a draft opinion by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade leaked in Politico. Schumer knows that this will not pass because abortion legislation that the House passed failed back in February.

But unlike Build Back Better, Democrats can’t complain about Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s intransigent defense of the filibuster. Ms Sinema is a vocal defender of abortion rights and warned in an op-ed last year that without the filibuster, Republicans could defund abortion care. She is also a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, for which she voted in February.

Conversely, Senator Joe Manchin, who has opposed abortion rights in the past, is one of only two Senate Democrats who didn’t co-sponsor the legislation. A reporter yesterday asked Mr Manchin, who has a 48 per cent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, what he thought since West Virginia has a law on the books that bans abortion.

“I have no idea about West Virginia law”, insisted Mr Manchin, a former governor, “because I haven’t been there for a while.” When the same reporter in the scrum pressed him since he’s a Senator, he replied: “I know, but I’m not the legislature in West Virginia, you’re talking about the legislature.” He ended by saying he’d check it out, but wouldn’t have any statement about leaks until he sees the final orders.

The other Democratic problem is Senator Bob Casey Jr of Pennsylvania. In February, he voted to allow debate on the legislation, but said he hoped that debate would include “focus on new and substantial funding for pregnant women, infants, and children”. Back in the mists of time, Mr Casey grew up in the same neighborhood as future president Joe Biden – who incidentally also has a record that has disappointed supporters of abortion rights.

At the same time, Democrats know voters have to see them trying. Polling has shown they have an advantage when it comes to abortion; four Democratic Senators – Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, and Mark Kelly of Arizona – all face tough races, and the vote is as much a means to help bail them out.

“I already voted to support it and will continue to support it,” Ms Cortez Masto told your dispatcher.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who is also chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told your dispatcher that it would motivate voter turnout.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve seen it happen.”

But Senator Elizabeth Warren told your dispatcher that the point of the vote is also to force the other side into showing their true colors.

“The Republicans are willing to support an extremist view that’s out of step with the rest of Americans,” she said. “Democrats have a chance to stand up and say no.”

But the fact remains that the vote will still likely fail and there’s still the filibuster, which your dispatcher asked Ms Warren about (this was before she gave a barn-burner of a speech in front of the Supreme Court building).

“If we don’t have enough votes now to get rid of the filibuster, then that’s what we need to ask the American people for in November,” she said. “When 69 percent of Americans want to see Roe v Wade as the law of the land, and we can’t even get a vote on the floor of the United States Senate, then that means the filibuster is anti-democratic and it is keeping us from doing the will of the people, and we need to get rid of it.”

A postscript: If Mr Casey’s name sounds familiar, that’s because Planned Parenthood v Casey – the 1992 Supreme Court ruling that upheld Roe v Wade but allowed Pennsylvania’s restrictions on abortions – bears the name of his father, then the state’s governor.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in