Largest US Nursing Union Calls for Ending Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

The largest nursing union in the United States recently sent an open letter to lawmakers in the Senate, demanding that they pass a bill recognizing and protecting abortion rights — and calling on them to suspend the filibuster in order to do so.

National Nurses United (NNU), stated in a letter that such legislation should not only protect abortion rights, but also address the needs of women. ensure that states cannot enact or enforce laws that seek to punish abortion providersWithin their jurisdictions.

Specifically, the organization is calling for the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which failed to pass earlier this yearRepublicans joined by Sen. Joe Manchin, a right-wing Democrat from West Virginia, used a filibuster in order to block debate on the legislation.

NNU called on senators “to take a stand for reproductive health justice” by passing WHPA, which President Joe Biden has pledged to sign into law if it reaches his desk.

“As members of a health care profession that is 90 percent female, nurses understand that abortion is an essential part of health care, and that a patient’s right to control their own body is at the very basis of a free and just society,” the letter said, adding that the union’s members understand that they have “a duty to advocate for our patients and their right to make their own health care decisions.”

The letter continued to state that:

The fundamental principles of ethical health care require that patients have autonomy, self determination, and dignity over the care they receive. Registered nurses know that abortion is a fundamental health care service. Codifying the protections provided by Roe V. Wade would ensure that patients have the ability to choose what is best for their bodies.

“Patients should have the right to seek abortion care with the counsel of a trusted healthcare provider regardless of where they live, and it is critical that Congress codify that right,” the NNU letter said.

The union directly referenced Biden’s call last weekTo recognize and protect abortion rights, a carveout should be made to the filibuster

“We stand with President Biden and urge you to suspend the filibuster to allow for a vote on this crucial legislation on the Senate floor without delay,” NNU officials said in the letter.

The suspension of the filibuster, which the union called an “anti-democratic Senate rule,” will be “required to secure a vote on this bill,” NNU officials said. The union said that the Senate should drop its use in order to pass the WHPA and to “[restore] full reproductive health rights to all Americans.”

This isn’t the first time that NNU has called for abolishing the filibuster. The union also demanded an end to the Senate ruleIn March 2021, it was noted that it was being used at the time to block labor laws, the expansion in U.S. health care coverage, and bills to protect voting rights.