AOC expertly explains why women’s and LGBTQ+ rights are under attack right now

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known as AOC, wears a red and black striped jacket with a dark top underneath with a little pin as she stares at something off camera

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for US lawmakers to codify the rights to marriage equality, abortion, contraception and more as well as the end of the Senate’s filibuster rule.

The New York state representative discussed the Supreme Court’s recent ruling to overturn Roe v Wade during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. AOC said the court “engaged in the overreaching of its authority” by denying the “human and civil” rights of any “pregnant person or person that could become pregnant” in the US. 

“When we have the framing of our government, the president, congress and the Supreme Court are supposed to be three coequal branches – coequal, none with supremacy over the other,” AOC said. 

She continued: “When any one of those branches overreaches its authority, it is the responsibility of the other two to check the overreach of that authority.”

Ocasio-Cortez thought president Joe Biden should “entertain expansion of the Supreme Court” and “forcefully” end the filibuster within the Senate. She also believed that congress had the power to codify rights to marriage equality, abortion, contraception and interracial marriage. 

“We have the possibility – when we are strengthened by the repeal of the filibuster or even the change to a talking filibuster or standing filibuster – in doing so, we can codify Roe, we can codify – and all the other cases that the Supreme Court indicated that they would threaten, we can codify same-sex marriage, we can codify the right to contraception, we can codify interracial marriage,” AOC said. 

She continued: “We can do it. We can only do it if we’re not fighting with one hand tied behind our back, let alone two. 

“And so I think that right now we just need a fight. And we need to show and demonstrate to the American people that when they vote to give Democrats power, we will use it to the fullest extent possible to defend everybody’s civil, economic and human rights.”


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Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas suggested in a concurring opinion that other rights built on the same legal principles as Roe v Wade could be under threat next. The conservative judge specifically said the court could “reconsider” rulings on the right to obtain contraception (Griswold v Connecticut), the right to same-sex intimacy (Lawrence v Texas) and the right to same-sex marriage (Obergefell v Hodges). 

The filibuster is a Senate rule which allows lawmakers to obstruct or slow down a piece of legislation from passing into law. A bill must reach a 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, which has a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats. 

Two Democratic senators, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema of Arizona, have resisted ending or weakening the filibuster

The filibuster has prevented the passage of the Equality Act, which would revolutionise LGBTQ+ rights in the US, in the Senate. The landmark legislation passed through the House in February 2021 with a majority of 224 to 206 – but it has stalled for over a year in the Senate.