FLORENCE, Kentucky — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he does not foresee Congress, even under GOP control, passing a national abortion ban.
Three days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Kentucky's senior senator talked about his role in making the court more conservative and what he thinks the future of abortion access will be in the United States.
"What the court did in effect was return this very controversial issue to the people and their representatives so it can be decided through the democratic process," McConnell said while having lunch on Monday with the Florence Rotary Club in this suburb south of Cincinnati.
With the Supreme Court decision, a trigger law immediately banned abortions in Kentucky. In Ohio, abortion has been banned after about six weeks once fetal cardiac activity has been detected.
McConnell told reporters after the speech he doesn't think there'll be a national abortion ban if Republicans take control of the House in the midterms.
He didn't say whether he supports a national ban, just that there wouldn't be enough votes in the Senate.
"It takes 60 votes in the Senate for either side to prevail on this issue," McConnell said. "So I think the democratic process on this issue is going to work out at the state level."
Reporters asked McConnell to address the concerns the decision will endanger women's health, possibly leading to deaths.
"Look, there are sensitive views on both sides of this issue," McConnell said just before stepping into an SUV to leave the luncheon. "What the Supreme Court has in effect done is give this issue to the democratic process."
President Joe Biden on Friday said the decision puts American women in danger.
"Now with Roe gone, let’s be very clear. The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk,” Biden said in a Friday afternoon speech.
As the dozens of Rotarians dined on lasagna and salad in Florence, McConnell touted his role in overturning Roe v. Wade.
He talked of his concerted effort to fill the judiciary with conservative judges and justices.
McConnell, as Senate Majority Leader, steered the confirmation in the Senate for three of the six justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade
He blocked President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, instead allowing the Senate to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee of Neil Gorsuch.
"What did all these men and women have in common?" McConnell said of Trump's three Supreme Court appointees. "They believe that the job of a judge is to try to follow the law."
McConnell also said there is precedent for overturning precedent. He used the example of the case Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 decision that upheld racial segregation but was later overturned.
"Precedent is important, but sometimes the precedent is outdated or wrong," McConnell said.
It isn't just about abortion, McConnell said. McConnell cheered the Supreme Court decision released Monday that upheld a high school football coach's prayer before a game as private speech and not a school district's endorsement of Christianity.
"Chalk one up to the Supreme Court," McConnell said.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Mitch McConnell: Congress unlikely to ban abortion