The Biden administration conceded Tuesday that Democrats currently don't have the votes to codify Roe vs. Wade, shortly after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to pass a law as soon as next week to keep abortion legal.
During a Tuesday media session, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that despite President Joe Biden's public request for legislation guaranteeing abortion access, the Democrats might have difficulty pushing such a bill through the U.S. Senate.
Earlier in the day, President Biden also said that should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, voters must elect more 'pro-choice' lawmakers.
"I think it's important to note that there has been a vote on this, and it failed," Psaki reportedly said in one exchange regarding Roe vs. Wade, while aboard Air Force One. "It did not have even 50 votes, which means even if the filibuster were overturned, there would not have been enough votes to get this passed."
Psaki added: "This is one of many topics he discusses with lawmakers. I would note, again, that [Senate Majority] Leader [Chuck] Schumer indicated he plans to bring it up again. But ... just to reiterate, what (President Biden) pointed to is the fact that there needs to be more pro-choice officials after the elections in November."
On Monday night, Politico published a draft Supreme Court ruling in which justices overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The document has since been confirmed as authentic, and an inquiry was launched into the incendiary leak of a ruling on a matter still before the court.
The draft opinion was described by the site as an "unflinching repudiation" of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections for abortion rights in America, and of a 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey which ostensibly upheld the components of Roe.
"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Justice Samuel Alito writes, according to Politico.
"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," Alito writes. "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."
Court watchers and abortion activists have been, up to this point, uncertain whether the court would leave Roe intact. Some thought it might scale back the ruling while leaving the bulk of it standing. The draft suggests a more extreme approach, though it should be noted that drafts are only that, and news outlets noted it was unclear if any subsequent drafts have been written; Chief Justice John Roberts has said the matter is still being decided.
On Tuesday, Psaki declined to make an "assessment" as to whether Biden could convince enough lawmakers to change their votes on abortion, leading into the crucial November midterm elections.
As for the leak, which many have cast as a brazen attempt to embarrass and pressure justices, Psaki said this: "It is unprecedented, or almost unprecedented depending on what historian you speak to. There's no question that that raises eyebrows for many in the country, including those of us in the White House.
"But what our focus is on right now beyond the leak is how we're going to protect a woman's right to make choices about her healthcare with her doctor, a right that is supported by the vast majority of the American public, and some call it a political issue. It is not. It is supported by the majority of the American public."
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