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Abortion rights: HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra says overcoming Dobbs won't 'be easy'

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WASHINGTON - Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said Sunday the Biden administration would "explore everything we can" in an effort to resecure the nationwide right to abortion, cautioning, "it will not be easy."

This comes after the Supreme Court's decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, a nearly 50-year landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

"When you are stripped of a right, as the Supreme Court has just done to every woman of childbearing age, it is tough to overcome," he said on NBC News' "Meet the Press." "It took 50 years for us to get as far as we did. Now we have to figure out how to do this. It will not be easy."

Becerra said the administration will "continue to find every avenue possible to make sure women have access to the care that they need, including abortion care."

He said he wants suggestions from congressional Democrats who feel that the party is not doing enough to fight for abortion.

"I tell them, give us some good ideas," he said. "We're going to explore everything we can, and I also would ask them to please pass a law.

"They have it in their power, if they can find the votes, to actually codify the Roe decision, which is what we need more than anything else."

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, seen in April, said Sunday that the Biden administration is trying "everything we can" to restore national abortion rights.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, seen in April, said Sunday that the Biden administration is trying "everything we can" to restore national abortion rights.

Change filibuster for abortion legislation?

President Joe Biden said Thursday he would support changing filibuster rules in the Senate to make it easier to codify a right to abortion and a right to privacy into federal law.

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Biden called the June 24 ruling in the Dobbs case, "outrageous" and "destabilizing" and said Congress must overturn it by writing Roe v. Wade into law.

Because of the filibuster, 60 votes are needed in the Senate to pass most legislation.

Changing the filibuster would mean senators would need a simple majority to write into law the Roe v. Wade decision. However, getting rid of the filibuster is up to the Senate. There aren't enough votes now to make that happen.

And a bill that would enshrine Roe v. Wade into law failed by a 49-51 vote last May.

The ruling now leaves it up to individual states to decide whether to legalize abortion.

Contributing: Francesca Chambers, Michael Collins, and Joey Garrison

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Becerra: Dobbs abortion ruling will be 'tough to overcome'