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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema speaks during a hearing

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) speaks during a hearing on February 1, 2022. (Photo: Bonnie Cash-Pool/Getty Images)

Ocasio-Cortez Says Filibuster Defender Sinema Can 'Take a Seat' on Women's Health

"Hold everyone contributing to this disaster accountable, GOP and Dem obstructionists included," the New York Democrat said. "She should be primaried."

Jake Johnson

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among those condemning Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Tuesday for reiterating her defense of the legislative filibuster, a Senate rule that is impeding congressional action on abortion rights as the U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"The filibuster is not protecting democracy. It's undermining it. End the filibuster now."

"We could protect Roe tomorrow, but Sinema refuses to act on the filibuster," Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted after Sinema (Ariz.) issued a statement touting her support for the Women's Health Protection Act, House-passed legislation that would codify the right to abortion care into federal law.

Until Sinema's position on the filibuster changes, Ocasio-Cortez wrote, "she can take a seat talking about 'women's access to healthcare.'"

"Hold everyone contributing to this disaster accountable, GOP and Dem obstructionists included," the New York Democrat added. "She should be primaried."

In her statement, Sinema characterized the filibuster as a safeguard "against the erosion of women's access to healthcare," pointing to several instances in recent years of the 60-vote threshold preventing Senate Republicans from pushing through anti-abortion measures.

"Overturning Roe v. Wade endangers the health and wellbeing of women in Arizona and across America," Sinema said. "I'm a co-sponsor of the Women's Health Protection Act, and I'll continue working with anyone to protect women's ability to make decisions about their futures."

Earlier this year, anti-abortion groups ran ads praising Sinema for helping thwart Senate Democrats' attempt to pass a voting rights carveout for the filibuster.

While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed Tuesday to hold another vote on the Women's Health Protection Act in the near future, Democrats don't have the 60 votes needed to pass the legislation with the filibuster intact.

The filibuster can be weakened or abolished with 50 votes plus a tie-breaker from the vice president, but Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have refused to support changes to the 60-vote rule. Manchin was the only Democrat to join Senate Republicans in filibustering the Women's Health Protection Act in February.

"The filibuster is the only protection we have in democracy," Manchin, an opponent of abortion, said Tuesday after declining to comment on the leaked opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, which if finalized would spell disaster for reproductive rights and much more.

Countering Manchin, the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington argued that "the filibuster is not protecting democracy."

"It's undermining it," the group said. "End the filibuster now."

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday found that 54% of Americans want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe, while just 28% want the court to overturn the 1973 decision.

The survey also showed that 58% believe abortion should be legal in "all or most cases."

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