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Cori Bush pushes Congress to pass abortion rights and end the filibuster

Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, D-St. Louis County, right, reacts as Chief of Staff Abbas Alawieh shows her a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade on June 24 at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri in the Central West End in St. Louis.

President Joe Biden earlier this week said he would support making an exception to filibuster rules in the Senate in order to codify abortion rights and the right to privacy.

“We have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law,” Biden told reporters at a press conference in Madrid. “The way to do that is to make sure that Congress votes to do that. And if the filibuster gets in the way, it's like voting rights, it should be [that] we provide an exception for this.”

Democratic lawmakers, including Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush, D-St. Louis County, have called for Biden to support an exception to the filibuster rule for this purpose.

“I've been pushing for abolishing the filibuster the entire time I've been in Congress, and it was like hitting a brick wall,” Bush told St. Louis on the Air. “And to hear our president now come out and say the same thing … change is happening.”

Bush said she wants to see an expansion of the U.S. Supreme Court. “It needs to reflect the needs of the majority of the people in this country,” she said.

She also supports a repeal of the Hyde Amendment (which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortions) and the funding of resources to assist those who seek abortions in other states, in order to ensure “that they have vouchers for travel, child care services … [and] other forms of support, like housing.”

Bush has also called on Biden to declare a public health emergency. “If the president does this, he'll use that executive authority to open up the resources that we've been talking about — the resources for abortion care services, [to] expand and protect access to abortion pills,” she said.

Rep. Cori Bush joins St. Louis on the Air

Bush was at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri in St. Louis’ Central West End when she received the news that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade. It’s the same location the congresswoman visited in the mid-1990s to receive abortion care.

“I was 17 when I had to make that decision. It was the result of a rape,” she said. “I was able to do that just by picking up a phone and making an appointment — the same way I would pick up a phone and make an appointment for … any other service. That's how easy it should be to be able to access our reproductive health care services, because abortion care is health care.

“Honestly, I don't know where I'd be right now if I ended up having the child of my rapist,” she added.

As Bush pushes for federal action to protect the right to abortion, she also wants her constituents to keep in mind that the procedure is available in other states.

“Abortion care is still available, and abortion care is also indispensable,” she said. “It is essential and it is necessary to make sure that we are saving lives.”

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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