US President Joe Biden wants to grant abortion rights to the entire United States. He wants an exception to the rules in the Senate in order to get legislation through Parliament that would restore a national right to abortion.
It’s called the filibuster, a practice that allows senators to prolong debates indefinitely with long speeches to delay or block passage of a bill. In the case of the abortion law, Biden wants to end it with the goal of reversing the Supreme Court’s decision to nullify the national right to abortion.
Most legislation requires the support of 60 of the 100 senators, but Biden’s Democrats currently have just 50 seats. The “filibuster exception” would allow Biden Democrats to pass legislation that would allow access to abortion care without their current wafer-thin majority and Republican support. Vice President Kamala Harris, as a member of the Senate, could be the deciding factor in achieving a ‘simple’ majority.
But even within Biden’s own Democrats, not everyone is in favor of eliminating the filibuster rule, which is seen as an effective check on power by any narrow majority party. It has yet to muster the 50 votes needed to change the more than 100-year-old filibuster rules.
After nearly 50 years, a Supreme Court ruling has ended a national law allowing termination of pregnancy. Biden called the voting behavior of the chief justices “outrageous and destabilizing” at the NATO summit in Madrid. Half of the 50 US states now pass laws restricting access to abortion, while a majority of Americans favor legalizing abortion care.
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