Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), a member of the House judiciary, education & labor, and ethics committees, pushed for an expansion of the U.S. Supreme Court following its decision this week to overturn Roe v. Wade, a decades-old case which established the federally recognized right to abortion.
“No matter how expected the Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional right to an abortion, its impact is devastating. Daughters across America now have less freedom than their mothers did,” Jones said. “Millions of people will no longer be able to get the abortion care they need. This isn’t—and shouldn’t be—America. Once again, the far-right, hyperpartisan majority on the Supreme Court has done what many of us warned it would: continue to dismantle fundamental rights and undermine the freedom to make our own health care decisions. This is one of the darkest days in American history. The Voting Rights Act and the right to an abortion have been dismantled. If we don’t restore balance to this radical 6-3 majority, marriage equality and your right to privacy are next. Let today be a reminder that expanding the Court is critical. Everything depends on it.”
Another option for addressing the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe would be Congressional action. There’s nothing fundamentally stopping Congress from re-establishing protections for abortion rights at the federal level; it’s simply a matter of garnering the level of support for such an initiative that would be needed for it to pass — although in the Senate, chamber filibuster rules complicate what’s actually needed. And there’s no guarantee that getting over the hurdle posed by the filibuster would automatically be the clincher: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) recently voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act, a measure that — as its name suggests — would put federal abortion protections in place. The current Democratic majority in the Senate hinges on Vice President Kamala Harris’s role as a tie-breaker, so not a single Democrat can defect and something still pass by a simple majority vote.
In remarks after the Supreme Court decision, President Biden pushed for Congressional action. “Let me be very clear and unambiguous: The only way we can secure a woman’s right to choose and the balance that existed is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law,” as the president put it. “No executive action from the President can do that. And if Congress, as it appears, lacks the votes to do that now, voters need to make their voices heard. This fall, we must elect more senators and representatives who will codify a woman’s right to choose into federal law once again [and] elect more state leaders to protect this right at the local level. We need to restore the protections of Roe as law of the land. We need to elect officials who will do that. This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the ballot.” Adding onto the Democratic majority in the Senate could leave Democrats with a simple majority in favor of changes to the filibuster and upholding abortion rights.
See Jones’s comments below: