The abortion-rights fight may be the latest Democratic priority to face a likely failure in the Senate.
Since President Joe Biden took office in January of 2021, several Senate failures have followed the same path, including spending on the social safety net, voting rights, climate change, and policy reform. The next fight, and possible defeat, is abortion rights.
Liberal activists are venting their frustration with the lack of action on abortion rights.
“Time and time again, we have seen Democrats use abortion rights as a campaign issue and fail to deliver on their promises and expand our right to reproductive freedom,” said co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, Analilia Mejia.
“We deserve leadership representing most Americans who believe abortion should be accessible and affordable to all who require this critical health care.”
Activists’ demands for action range from passing federal abortion protections to abolishing the filibuster and expanding the Supreme Court to appoint new justices and possibly shift the balance of power in the Supreme Court toward the left.
However, there appears to be little the Democrats can do to address it.
Democrats do not have the option to circumvent the filibuster in an attempt to pass federal abortion protections. This means that the party will need a unanimous agreement among their members or 6o votes to overturn a filibuster.
This seems unlikely, with Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia saying he supports the filibuster.
“The filibuster is the only protection we have of democracy right now,” said Manchin. “The bottom line is we need checks and balances.”
No promises on outcomes
National polls have shown that most Americans support the right to an abortion.
Likewise, the number of congressional Democrats who oppose abortion rights has fallen to a handful. While Democrats promise to hold a vote, they have not yet been able to promise an outcome.
“A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on the Senate floor.
He promised to vote to “codify the right to an abortion in law.“
Schumer continued, “We will vote to protect a woman’s right to choose, and every American will see which side every senator stands.” Schumer would not, however, guarantee an outcome.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., echoed Schumer’s remarks and told reporters that Congress needs to keep voting to force lawmakers to make their positions public.
“Congress is the last hope for millions of people across the country whose lives and well-being have been put at risk by the United States Supreme Court that is out at the far fringe of America. Everyone needs to be on the record about where they stand.”