President Biden on Thursday said he would support changing the filibuster rules in the Senate to codify a woman’s access to abortion into federal law passed by Congress.
“I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law, and the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that,” Mr. Biden said at a press conference in Madrid, Spain, at the conclusion of a three-day summit with the heads of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. “And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, we require an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”
Mr. Biden, who long opposed dropping the filibuster to pass legislation, announced last year that he would be open to altering it so Congress could advance two bills that would overhaul U.S. elections.
The president also said the domestic turmoil over abortion has destabilized his efforts to keep NATO nations united against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but downplayed the impact, emphasizing that the military alliance still remains strong.
“The one thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States and overruling not only Roe v. Wade, but essentially challenging the right to privacy,” Mr. Biden said. “We’ve been a leader in the world in terms of personal rights and privacy rights. And it is a mistake, in my view, for the Supreme Court to do what it did.”
Still, Mr. Biden downplayed the impact the Supreme Court’s decision last week has had on foreign relations. His remarks came at a press conference following the conclusion of two separate European summits among leaders of NATO and the heads of the seven largest economies, known as the Group of Seven or G-7.
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“I have not seen anyone come up to me and do anything, nor have you heard, them say anything but ‘thank you for America’s leadership. You’ve changed the dynamic of NATO and G-7,’ ” he said.
Mr. Biden also dismissed the impact of the soaring inflation and record-level gas prices on his efforts to achieve his goals during the summits, saying America’s economy is stronger than some of its allies. But he quickly returned to the abortion issue, vowing to codify Roe v. Wade to guarantee women the right to an abortion.
Several leaders who have strong relationships with the U.S. took the unusual move of weighing in on domestic matters this week. Among the harshest critics were leaders who stood shoulder to shoulder with Mr. Biden as the G-7 summit kicked off earlier this week.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the Supreme Court decision “horrific” and “a devastating setback.” He said he can’t imagine “the fear and anger” American women are feeling.
“No government, politician or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. I want women in Canada to know that we will always stand up for your right to choose,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron declared abortion “a fundamental right” that must be protected. He accused the U.S. Supreme Court of undermining women’s liberties.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the ruling “a big step backward,” and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the decision shows “there is still a long way to go for gender justice.”
“Women’s rights are threatened. We must defend them resolutely,” Mr. Scholz said.