Democrats call for filibuster change to protect abortion rights

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar called the Texas law and the Supreme Court's response "an assault on women's health."

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Democratic lawmaker Amy Klobuchar called for immediate action from her party to act and abolish the filibuster in the wake of restrictive new abortion laws recently allowed to take effect in Texas. 

“Now and over the next years, we will just get nowhere if we keep this filibuster in place,” the Minnesota senator told CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union on Sunday. 

Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is among those calling for immediate action from her party to act and abolish the filibuster in the wake of the restrictive new abortion laws passed in Texas. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

“I do not believe an archaic rule should be used to allow us to put our heads in the sand — to use Justice (Sonia) Sotomayor‘s words — to put our heads in the sand and not take action on the important issues,” Klobuchar said, calling the Texas law and the Supreme Court’s response “an assault on women’s health.”

Klobuchar has previously supported abolishing the filibuster to pass legislation to protect voting rights. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that the House of Representatives would “bring up Congresswoman Judy Chu‘s Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine into law reproductive health care for all women across America.” Still, however, it would need 10 votes in the Senate to pass, and there is no indication that any Republican would support pro-choice legislation. 

Republicans have pushed back against the Democrats’ outrage, saying that the matter is being used to “distract” from other issues. 

“This decision that they made with the state of Texas is unbelievable,” Klobuchar said. “Here you have them this year, this week, basically telling women in Texas that 85% of them seeking abortion services cannot exercise their constitutional rights. … And basically greenlighted a law that is blatantly against Roe v. Wade.”

Klobuchar also called for Justice Stephen Breyer to retire while Democrats control the White House and Senate and can confirm a younger, more liberal justice to the Supreme Court. 

“I believe, if he is seriously considering retirement — and he has said he would do it,” she said, “based on not only his own health but also the future of the court — if this decision doesn’t cry out for that, I don’t … I don’t know what does.” 

Progressives began to call for 82-year-old Breyer to retire in July. The call first came from New York Congressman Mondaire Jones. When asked if she agrees, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, “We have had very difficult experiences with making, I believe, the opposite mistake.” 

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