Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on Democrats to abolish the Senate filibuster and expand the Supreme Court after the justices refused to block a Texas ban on abortion following six weeks of pregnancy.
The court’s decision Wednesday was a major milestone in the fight against abortion, as opponents have sought to roll back access to the procedure.
The New York Democrat took to Twitter early Thursday morning to tell progressives it was time to fight.
“Republicans promised to overturn Roe v Wade, and they have,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Democrats can either abolish the filibuster and expand the court, or do nothing as millions of peoples’ bodies, rights, and lives are sacrificed for far-right minority rule.
“This shouldn’t be a difficult decision.”
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deny an emergency request by abortion and women’s health providers for an injunction on enforcement of the Texas state law, which took effect Wednesday.
The law places a ban on most abortions and allows a reporting system through which private citizens can sue abortion providers or people who receive abortions.
Critics of the Texas law argue it violates the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade, which prohibits states from banning the procedure before a fetus is viable, typically around 24 weeks of pregnancy, The Hill reported.
With the Senate split evenly along party lines, Republicans can use the filibuster to prevent passage of a bill unless 60 senators vote to end debate.
Progressives have demanded that Democrats employ “the nuclear option” and use Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote to end the filibuster. Moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., however, have voiced support for the legislative tool.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday also criticized the Texas abortion law, calling it “extreme” and warning it will “impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes,” The Hill said.
“Outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual,” Biden said. “My administration is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right.”
Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, has said he personally opposes abortion but supports a women’s right to terminate her pregnancy.