Pro-Abortion Forces Target the Filibuster
Pro-Abortion Forces Target the Filibuster
Written By Ecce Verum   |   09.29.22
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Roe v. Wade had long been a prize jewel in the crown of leftist accomplishments. And Democrats fought hard against appointing the new justices who recently overthrew it. Now that it’s gone, the liberals are destroying every obstacle they can to get it back. Next target: the U.S. Senate filibuster.

The U.S. Senate is currently split between 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and 2 independents who caucus with their Democratic colleagues. Because of this 50-50 split, Vice President Kamala Harris has often stepped in to cast the tie-breaking vote on gridlocked bills, essentially giving the Democratic party a majority by one vote. While this bodes well on paper for the Democratic party, U.S. Senate dynamics often prohibit such a razor-thin majority from effectively passing bills—thanks to the filibuster.

Dating back to the ancient Roman senate, the filibuster is a tactic used by minority legislators to stall (and hopefully permanently block) a bill before it can be passed by the majority. Historically, a filibusterer would take the floor and speak for hours at a time—a 1908 U.S. Senate filibuster lasted eighteen hours—and since the U.S. Senate could not conduct business while a senator was talking, the bill would be stalled. (Since 1970, however, filibusters have not been required to be actual speeches; often, a minority senator will simply threaten to filibuster, which suffices to stall the bill under the current U.S. Senate dynamics.)

In the U.S. Senate, a 60-vote supermajority is required to end debate on a certain issue, which, practically speaking, means that a minority can use the filibuster to block a bill until 60 senators can be convinced to vote for it. And unfortunately for the Democratic party, they do not hold 60 seats in the Senate.

Democrats have found ways to work around the filibuster obstacle, such as compromising with Republicans or passing bills under the “budget reconciliation process” which allows certain bills to be passed with the 51 votes they currently have. But the long and short of it is, if Republicans won’t compromise, and the Democrat-sponsored bill can’t fit under budget reconciliation terms, then it’s very hard for Democrats to pass their initiatives. And, with such a momentous issue as abortion on the line, the party does not intend to let it stay that way.

The party has already tried once this year to get rid of the filibuster. In January, U.S. Senate Republicans stopped a Democrat “voting rights bill” for the fifth time in six months, and, failing yet again to reach the 60-vote count, U.S. Senate Democrats responded by attempting to change filibuster rules to allow the bill to pass by a 51-vote majority. Unfortunately for the Democrats, they couldn’t even unify their own party behind the motion. Democrats Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) opposed removing the sixty-vote margin, with Manchin arguing that

Eliminating the filibuster would be the easy way out. It wasn’t meant to be easy. I cannot support such a perilous course for this nation . . . putting politics and party aside is what we’re supposed to do.

Thus, with two Democrats joining the Republicans, the filibuster was preserved on a vote of 52-48. As it is now, an abortion law also looks unlikely before the November election.

However, despite being unable to pass important bills without Republican support, and now even unable to unify their own party to remove the filibuster roadblock, Democrats aren’t giving up. Their next goal—announced in advance—is to gain at least two more seats in the U.S. Senate. They can’t convert Manchin and Sinema, so they’ll simply fill two more seats with senators who will toe the party line. In her remarks to the Democratic National Committee a few weeks ago, Vice President Harris spelled out the game plan:

Democrats, with just two more seats in the Senate, we can codify Roe v Wade. We can put the protections of Roe into law. (Applause) . . . I cannot wait to cast the deciding vote to break the filibuster on voting rights and reproductive rights.  I cannot wait.  (Applause.)  Fifty-nine days.  Fifty-nine days.

If Democrats can flip two U.S. Senate seats in this election, then they will have the votes to overcome Manchin and Sinema’s immovable moderate stance, and with a new 50-50 vote on removing the filibuster, Harris will step in with the tiebreaker. That’s the new game plan: no annoying pro-filibuster majority, no filibuster. No filibuster, no Republican bill-blocking. No Republican bill-blocking, and Roe v. Wade is back again. This time, as a federal law passed by Congress and signed by the president.

This so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” is the Democrats’ attempt to codify Roe‘s national abortion protections, which were removed when Roe was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling. As LifeNews summarizes, this bill would:

  • Eliminate all state and federal parental consent laws in relation to abortion”
  • “Eliminate all state informed consent laws, including those that allow women to view an ultrasound prior to abortion”
  • “Prevent states from passing laws to protect babies at 20 weeks, thereby joining countries like North Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada, and the Netherlands in not protecting unborn children later in development”
  • “Force doctors and nurses opposed to abortion to lose their jobs, and Catholic hospitals could lose public funds unless they perform abortions”
  • “Eliminate decades-long limitations on direct taxpayer funding of abortion – including the popular Hyde Amendment, which has saved more than 2 million lives since enacted

And since the act has already been passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, it is two U.S. Senate seats away from being signed by a very willing president. This upcoming election matters.

This midterm campaign, multiple Democrat candidates have appeared who are specifically advertising themselves as a Democrat votes against the filibuster. Further, a recent NPR poll reported that about two-thirds of Democrat respondees said they were more motivated to vote in the upcoming election, once the draft of Dobbs was leaked to the public. The alarming flipside is that only 40 percent of Republicans said the same thing. The battle is not over; now is not the time for Republican voters or legislators to sit on their behinds and bask in the laziness of apparent victory. The battle is moving from the courts to the Congress, and Democrats are, too.

If pro-life Republicans don’t get their act together, they could very well find themselves on the mat after all. Lives depend on it.

Ecce Verum
Ecce Verum is passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how God’s redemptive work relates to every aspect of life. His earnest desire is to steward well the resources and abilities that God has given him, in whatever situation God may have him. Currently, Ecce is pursuing a B.A. in classical liberal arts at New Saint Andrews College, with the intention to enter law school after graduation and fight for the truth in the legal and political fields. However, he does enjoy aptly written words regardless of the topic, and has contributed to blogs on apologetics and debate in...
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