By Stacy M. Brown,
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced plans to vote on legislation to codify abortion rights law on May 3.
Schumer said a vote on such legislation “is not an abstract exercise.”
“It’s as urgent and real as it gets,” Schumer said.
“We will vote to protect women’s right to choose, and every American will see which side every senator stands on,” he said.
The leader’s action came after a leaked Supreme Court document revealed that if the document is genuine, a majority of justices voted to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade.
Civil rights and women’s groups quickly denounced the decision, as Politico reports.
“Bodily autonomy, especially for women of color, who face disproportionate inequalities in health and rights, is central to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Moms of color are calling for reproductive justice, including access to abortion care,” said Mothering Justice Executive Director Danielle Atkinson.
“We demand that the Supreme Court of the United States abandon Justice Samuel Alito’s plan, go back to the drawing board and issue a decision that protects our health, our rights and our bodily autonomy.”
“There is no greater invasion than when a government takes over our bodies – controlling the most private decision of all, the decision of when and if to have children.
“As moms of color, such interference is nothing new, as our families and communities are denied the resources to raise our children safely. We will continue to fight for reproductive justice until the law respects our right to control our own bodies.
Schumer’s call for a vote to codify abortion law will most likely face a stalemate as he needs 60 votes in an evenly divided Senate.
Vermont Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders has previously called for an end to the filibuster to ensure senators could effectively stop abolishing Roe v. Wade.
If Congress can’t, the Supreme Court’s decision would allow states to decide their abortion policy.
President Joe Biden said his administration advocated strongly in defense of Roe v. Wade. However, he noted that the leaked draft is unofficial and does not yet reflect the court’s final decision.
“We said that Roe is based on a long line of precedents recognizing ‘the Fourteenth Amendment concept of personal freedom’…against government interference in extremely personal decisions,” Biden said.
“I believe a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for nearly fifty years, and the fundamental fairness and stability of our law demands that it not be overturned.”
The president noted that soon after the enactment of Texas SB 8 and other laws restricting women’s reproductive rights, he asked his gender policy counsel and the White House General Counsel’s office to prepare options for an administration response to the ongoing attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under various possible outcomes in cases pending before the Supreme Court.
“We will be ready as soon as a decision is made,” Biden said.
“If the court overturns Roe, it will be incumbent on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” he ruled.
“And it will be up to voters to elect pro-choice leaders in November. Federally, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to pass legislation codifying Roe, which I will strive to pass and sign.
Meanwhile, Schumer proclaimed that the upcoming midterm elections will have dire consequences “because the rights of one hundred million women are now on the ballot.”
“To help fight this horrific decision by this court, I urge all Americans to raise their voices this week and this year,” Schumer remarked.
“I urge Americans to call their members, write to their members, email their members, text their members, and most importantly vote.”
He concluded :
“Make no mistake: the blame for this decision lies entirely with Republican senators and Senate Republicans as a whole, who have spent years pushing hardline justices, spent years confirming three far-right justices to the Supreme Court, but who claimed that day would never come. But that day has come, and we will fight it to the end.
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