Updated Jun 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden backs filibuster changes to codify Roe v. Wade

Picture of Joe Biden
Photo: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday he would support changing the Senate's filibuster rules for Congress to pass a federal law codifying Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: With the current 60-vote threshold, Democrats have few legislative options to fight the end of the nationwide right to an abortion.

The big picture: Democrats have previously attempted and failed to pass legislation to protect abortion rights on the federal level, and while they have a 50-vote majority in the Senate, such a bill cannot pass unless they change filibuster rules.

  • Despite not meeting the 60-vote threshold, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that bills have been introduced to "codify freedoms which Americans currently enjoy," such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage.
  • Justice Clarence Thomas, who joined the Supreme Court majority in overturning Roe, said that he believes the court should reconsider landmark decisions on contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

Driving the news: Biden said Roe should be codified and that "the way to do that is to make sure that Congress votes to do that. ... And if the filibuster gets in the way ... we should provide an exception."

  • The president clarified that he believes the right to privacy should be codified, which would protect more than just abortion access on the federal level. It could include access to contraceptives and marriage equality.

What he's saying: "The one thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States and overruling not only Roe v. Wade, but essentially challenging the right to privacy," Biden added.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

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