Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez Call For Codifying Roe v. Wade As 'Law Of The Land'

The lawmakers' immediate call for action follows news that the Supreme Court may be poised to overturn the landmark abortion rights decision.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are leading calls to immediately codify Americans’ right to abortion into federal law, a response to a leaked draft opinion that suggests the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

“People elected Democrats precisely so we could lead in perilous moments like these,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted shortly after Politico published the draft on Monday night. “If we don’t, what message does that send? We can’t sit around, finger point, & hand wring as people’s futures + equality are on the line.”

Sanders acknowledged in a tweet that Democrats, with whom he caucuses, are highly unlikely to secure 60 votes in the Senate to pass legislation that would make Roe v. Wade “the law of the land in this country.” To get around that, he called for changing filibuster rules to allow senators to pass legislation with a simple majority.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have repeatedly said they will protect the filibuster, however, likely creating another roadblock for that plan of action.

The draft opinion, which was signed by Justice Samuel Alito ― a member of the court’s 6-3 conservative majority ― calls Roe v. Wade “egregiously wrong from the start.” Its authenticity was confirmed by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday, who added that the draft does not reflect the court’s final decision.

The opinion was drafted in response to a case that challenges Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks. That case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, seeks to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion that Roe established in 1973. A decision is expected within the next two months.

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