“There is no secret, I want to protect every child. So if there’s an opportunity to be able to move on, protect more kids if we can, I’m going to do it,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). But, he added, the 60-vote threshold required to get most bills through the Senate would present “the same stalemate… There’s a big difference between voting for and moving a bill.” .
“I’m definitely advocating: let the states handle this,” added Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who is being re-elected this year. “Maybe once that process happened, yes. There may be a point for federal legislation…a restriction that we should probably recognize nationally.
Anti-abortion groups and GOP lawmakers have spent years pursuing a 20-week federal abortion ban as a consensus party position, in addition to so-called “born alive” bills, which would punish providers of health care that does not deal with an infant who survives an attempted abortion. Now, the likely reversal by the Supreme Court of deer next month breaks that deal, which has often resulted in failed Senate votes each winter when the anti-abortion March for Life hit Washington.
It’s clear the GOP doesn’t want to come forward on national abortion restrictions as a platform in November. Even so, Republicans must retake Congress this fall if they are to pursue national boundaries in the future.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told USA Today last week that a nationwide ban was “possible,” but said Monday he would “never support removing the legislative filibuster on this or any other matter”. With that in mind, many Republicans want to put discussions on abortion legislation on the back burner, seeking instead to regain majorities on the Hill.
Crucially, while the GOP is confident of failing to secure a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate this fall, the practical hurdle to any new abortion limit would be 67 votes in the upper house — as long as President Joe Biden is in office, he is poised to veto any such legislation that a Republican Congress might send him.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune (RS.D.) said while he personally supports abortion restrictions, the debate is “hypothetical” and there is no unified position within the GOP .
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who is close to McConnell, issued a similar note. He said if deer is overturned, he sees no need for federal legislation despite his support for a 20-week abortion ban in the past: “I don’t think that’s really an appropriate topic for Congress.”
The recognition that deer will likely be reversed is a change for the GOP, which has spent much of the past week condemning the release of the draft advisory to POLITICO. Cornyn observed that “we’ve come a long way from a leaked draft advisory that would give it back to the states.”
“There will be a lot of different approaches, a lot of different ideas. We’re a big party and we have a lot of different thoughts and ideas,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). “I am categorically pro-life. I will always want to do what is right for the pro-life movement.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), another GOP incumbent, added that “referring the matter to the states does not preclude the U.S. Congress from legislating on the subject of abortion,” but said he wanted to see how states approached it initially. .
Beyond what comes next after the reversal of the 1973 decision, Senate Republicans’ individual views on abortion range from Lankford and Ernst on the anti-abortion end of the spectrum to the Senses. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who have their own legislation to codify Deer. And as Republicans scramble to find some kind of consensus, with their leaders sidelining whether they might try to restrict abortions on a national basis in the future, Democrats lean heavily in defense of the right to ‘abortion.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) will force a vote on Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (D-Conn.) legislation codifying deer, which should fail. McConnell spoke about the Democratic legislation at Monday night’s leadership meeting, describing it as extreme, according to two attendees who spoke candidly on condition of anonymity.
Democrats, meanwhile, are playing on McConnell’s suggestion of a future nationwide ban and warning of GOP legislation that goes beyond rescinding deerif the Republicans regain the majority and the White House.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Monday that McConnell “certainly opened the door to a federal ban on abortion” and warned that “every person in America should listen to him.”
McConnell called the Democrats’ position unpopular because it would allow late-term abortions in some states, saying Monday that “radicals run the show.” But Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he was ‘skeptical’ McConnell wouldn’t change chamber rules after he vowed not to, if it suited him. . Durbin’s reason for this doubt? “Merrick Garland.”
The rally of Democrats around abortion rights is so strong that a growing number of them who are re-elected this fall are uniting around a new push to weaken the filibuster in response, despite no chance that a rules change to happen anywhere in the equally divided Senate.
“I would support an exception to the filibuster on this issue,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan (DN.H.), who will face voters in November. “[Republicans have] have already achieved what they wanted by making an exception to the filibuster with respect to Supreme Court appointments. And I think they won’t hold back [on abortion restrictions] if they think it’s something they should do.
Meanwhile, the GOP’s closed lips on federal abortion restraints apply even to Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), who has repeatedly introduced legislation to enact a 20-week ban.
Summing up the mood for most of the conference, Graham said Monday, “Call me 2025.”