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With Roe v. Wade likely to be overturned, it's unclear whether Republicans will seek to ban abortion nationwide.
McConnell said Tuesday the "widespread sentiment" in his caucus is that it will be decided by states.
He said there's not enough votes for a federal abortion ban, though he said just days ago that it's "possible."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to tamp down concerns that Republicans may try to ban abortion nationwide, telling reporters on Tuesday that most of his caucus thinks the issue should be left up to the states if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer.
He made the remarks after reiterating his opposition to removing the filibuster — which requires 60 affirmative votes to pass a bill — saying that there are "no issues" that would sway Republicans to the contrary.
"I think it's safe to say there aren't 60 votes there at the federal level, no matter who happens to be in the majority, no matter who happens to be in the White House," said McConnell at his weekly press conference. "So I think the widespread sentiment of my caucus is that this issue will be dealt with at the state level."
Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican, has plans to introduce a bill banning abortions after six weeks at the federal level, The Washington Post reported last week. Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, and other GOP senators are reportedly on board with the bill.
McConnell pointed out that votes on the issue of abortion do happen from time to time in the Senate, and that the issue will be "ripe for discussion" if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, as a leaked draft opinion suggests it is poised to do.
"We have to be a democratic body," he said of the Senate, adding that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer "has proven that by having a vote on it tomorrow."
—CSPAN (@cspan) May 10, 2022
The Senate will vote tomorrow on the Women's Health Protection Act, a bill that would codify the right to an abortion afforded by Roe v. Wade into federal law. The vote is expected to fail due to the opposition of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senate Republicans.
McConnell's comments come after he told USA Today over the weekend that a nationwide ban on abortion is "possible."
"If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies — not only at the state level but at the federal level — certainly could legislate in that area," he told the outlet. "And if this were the final decision, that was the point that it should be resolved one way or another in the legislative process. So yeah, it's possible."
That led Democrats to declare that Republicans want to ban abortion across the country. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues on Monday that Republicans will "criminalize abortion nationwide" and "take aim at additional basic human rights" if Roe is overturned.
Read the original article on Business Insider