Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Thursday said she supports the Senate removing the procedural filibuster rule in order to codify abortion rights into law.
Feinstein said she “certainly would vote” to support a carveout to the filibuster to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and codify federal-level abortion protections.
“Let me be clear: If it comes down to protecting the filibuster or protecting a woman’s right to choose, there should be no question that I will vote to protect a woman’s right to choose,” she said in a statement.
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, clearing the way for states to ban or severely restrict abortion access, President Biden called on the Senate to carve out an exception to the filibuster rule to codify abortion rights into law.
Previous efforts to eliminate the filibuster rule, which allows for voting on legislation to be indefinitely delayed unless 60 senators vote to end debate, have failed because Democrats hold a thin majority in the upper chamber with 50 senators and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
Biden would need the support of all Democrats to get rid of the filibuster, including from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who have long resisted ending the established Senate procedure.
After Politico in May published a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court was preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade and the 50-year constitutional right to abortion, both Manchin and Sinema reiterated their support for the filibuster rule.
“The filibuster is the only protection we have in democracy,” Manchin told The Hill in May.
While the House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act last year, the Senate failed to pass the legislation after bringing it to a vote in both February and May. The chamber was unable to muster the 60 votes needed to end the filibuster both times.
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), as well as the largest nursing union in the country, have intensified calls for the Senate to end the filibuster procedure in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.