Joe Biden backs changing filibuster rules to codify abortion rights in US

President will do 'everything in my power' to protect right to choose in US

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US President Joe Biden said on Thursday he would support exceptions to the US Senate's filibuster rules in an effort to codify abortion rights after Roe v Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court last week.

“We've been a leader in the world in terms of personal rights and privacy. And it is a mistake, in my view, for the Supreme Court do it what it did,” he told reporters at a news conference in Madrid, Spain, where he is attending the Nato summit.

Condemning the high court's ruling to end the constitutional right to abortion as “destabilising”, Mr Biden said he would also confer with state governors on what actions he should take.

“But the most important thing to be clear about this is … I believe we have to codify Roe v Wade in the law. And the way to do that is to make sure that Congress votes to do that.”

Mr Biden added that exceptions should be made to the filibuster rule if it “gets in the way” of the Senate voting on putting abortion rights into federal law.

“And I'm going to do everything in my power, which I legally can do in term of executive orders, as well as push the Congress and the public,” he said.

What is the filibuster in US politics?

What is the filibuster in US politics?

Under Senate rules, any senator can filibuster to halt a vote on a bill. Fifty-one votes are needed to break a filibuster, but that has proven to be an obstacle for Democrats.

Mr Biden's party currently holds a narrow 50-50 majority in the upper chamber and two Democratic senators have voiced objections to changing filibuster rules, previously derailing the president's hopes of passing voting rights legislation and his $1.75 trillion spending bill.

Meanwhile, a 15-week abortion ban that was set to take effect in Florida on Friday was struck down by a judge. The law was similar to the one in Mississippi that the Supreme Court weighed on when it overturned Roe v Wade.

Judges in Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana and Utah have also temporarily blocked bans since the high court's decision last week.

Updated: June 30, 2022, 5:51 PM