- Since Roe v. Wade, it’s unclear whether Republicans will seek to ban abortion nationwide.
- McConnell said Tuesday that the “general feeling” in his caucus is that it will be up to the states.
- He said there aren’t enough votes for a federal abortion ban, even though a few days ago he said it’s “possible.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has tried to quell concerns that Republicans are trying to ban abortion nationwide, telling reporters Tuesday that a majority of his group believes the issue should be left to the Senate. the states if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer.
He made the comments after reiterating his opposition to removing filibuster, which requires 60 yes votes to pass a bill, and said there are “no issues” swaying Republicans against it.
“I think it’s safe to say there’s not 60 votes at the federal level, no matter who the majority is, no matter who’s in the White House,” McConnell said at his weekly news conference. “So I think the general sentiment from my caucus is that this issue will be dealt with at the state level.”
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, plans to introduce a bill that would ban abortions after six weeks at the federal level, The Washington Post reported last week. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, and other GOP senators reportedly agree with the bill.
McConnell noted that votes on the abortion issue happen from time to time in the Senate, and that the issue will be “up for discussion” if the Supreme Court overrules Roe, as a leaked draft opinion suggests.
“We have to be a democratic body,” he said of the Senate, adding that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “has shown that by voting for it tomorrow.”
—CSPAN (@cspan) May 10, 2022
The Senate will vote tomorrow on the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would codify the abortion right granted by Roe v. Wade in federal law. The vote is expected to fail due to opposition from Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senate Republicans.
McConnell’s comments come after he told USA Today over the weekend that a national abortion ban is “possible.”
“If the leaked opinion becomes the final opinion, the legislative bodies, not only at the state level but also at the federal level, could certainly legislate in that area,” he told the outlet. “And if this was the final decision, that was the point where it should be resolved one way or another in the legislative process. So yes, it is possible.”
That prompted Democrats to declare that Republicans want to ban abortion nationwide. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her colleagues Monday that Republicans will “criminalize abortion across the country” and “target additional basic human rights” if Roe is struck down.