On Wednesday night, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) stuck to her principles. Along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and all 50 Republicans, she voted against changing Senate rules on the filibuster. She had previously spoken on the Senate floor in favor of keeping the filibuster. It's also a position she's been known to hold. It's nothing new from her, and yet there have still been new updates and reactions to Sinema supporting the filibuster. Namely, groups such as NARAL and EMILY's List have announced they are pulling support for the senator.
NARAL has tweeted about the right to vote, including a pinned tweet from Tuesday.
Today, we’re changing our endorsement criteria to reflect our commitment to the freedom to vote. Going forward, we won’t endorse any U.S. senator who doesn’t support changing the Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation. Our democracy is on the line. #DeliverForVotingRights— NARAL (@NARAL) January 18, 2022
The very same people trying to restrict our voting rights are also trying to restrict abortion rights. We need the Senate to protect these fundamental freedoms by any means necessary.— NARAL (@NARAL) January 19, 2022
There's no reproductive freedom without the freedom to vote. With both freedoms at stake, we’re changing our endorsement criteria. We’ll only endorse U.S. senators who support changing the Senate rules to pass the critical legislation that will protect voting rights.— NARAL (@NARAL) January 20, 2022
This appears to include following the White House's narrative in suggesting the 2022 elections will be in peril without such legislation.
They also tweeted directly about Sinema.
“Without ensuring that voters have the freedom to participate in safe and accessible elections, a minority with a regressive agenda and a hostility to reproductive freedom will continue to block the will of the majority of Americans.” https://t.co/DylhwddKyl #FreedomToVote— NARAL (@NARAL) January 20, 2022
“Later Tuesday, reproductive rights group NARAL also changed its endorsement criteria, saying it ‘won’t endorse any U.S. senator who doesn’t support changing the Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation.’” https://t.co/uHZAjb24uL #FreedomToVote— NARAL (@NARAL) January 20, 2022
Then there's EMILY's List, which had been Sinema's highest donor. They too had some tweets, including a pinned tweet.
Let us be clear on this — electing Democratic pro-choice women is not possible without fair and free elections. We support the right to the ballot box and the right to choose.— EMILY's List (@emilyslist) January 19, 2022
A lengthy statement from Laphonza Butler, president of EMILY's List called out Sinema by name. It read in part:
“EMILY’s List is laser-focused on the 2022 elections–holding the House and Senate, electing governors and state legislators. Understanding that access to the ballot box and confidence in election results are critical to our work and our country, we have joined with many others to impress upon Sen. Sinema the importance of the pending voting rights legislation in the Senate. So far those concerns have not been addressed.
“We have not endorsed or contributed to Sen. Sinema since her election in 2018. Right now, Sen. Sinema’s decision to reject the voices of allies, partners and constituents who believe the importance of voting rights outweighs that of an arcane process means she will find herself standing alone in the next election.
“Electing Democratic pro-choice women is not possible without free and fair elections. Protecting the right to choose is not possible without access to the ballot box. So, we want to make it clear: if Sen. Sinema can not support a path forward for the passage of this legislation, we believe she undermines the foundations of our democracy, her own path to victory and also the mission of EMILY’s List, and we will be unable to endorse her moving forward.
Last week, actually, over 70 Arizona women signed onto a letter calling on the organization to pull support.
BREAKING: 70+ AZ Women Leaders Pen Letter to @emilyslist Calling for Org to Demand @SenatorSinema Support Ending the Filibuster— Belén Sisa (@thebelensisa) January 14, 2022
"With the upcoming vote on filibuster reform planned for next week, delay & silence is unacceptable." pic.twitter.com/mcmFBywxg3
Besides how absurd it is to claim that abortion is tied to the right to vote, such a reason for rescinded support is actually ironic.
Sinema supports and voted in favor of such voting legislation. She just wasn't willing to compromise when it comes to nuking the filibuster in order to get such legislation passed.
More pressingly, Sinema supports abortion, and she's pretty vocal about it. She has a 100 percent rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, as well as their state affiliates. She has a 0 percent rating from most pro-life groups, though Democrats for Life of America has given her a 13 percent rating.
Not only does Sinema support abortion, she supports the filibuster because she supports abortion. She's concerned that when pro-life senators are in the majority, they may too easily pass legislation that could regulate or restrict abortion.
As Aila Slisco reported for Newsweek, about such groups pulling support:
Sinema's office pointed Newsweek towards comments given to The Arizona Republic on Tuesday, when the senator insisted that her support of an unaltered filibuster was needed "to protect against wild swings in federal policy, including in the area of protecting women's health care."
Again, Sinema has been saying this for months. In an opinion piece for The Washington Post last June, she cited abortion as well:
And, sometimes, the filibuster, as it’s been used in previous Congresses, is needed to protect against attacks on women’s health, clean air and water, or aid to children and families in need.
To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to expand health-care access or retirement benefits: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to later see that legislation replaced by legislation dividing Medicaid into block grants, slashing earned Social Security and Medicare benefits, or defunding women’s reproductive health services?
Apparently, Sinema and Manchin may be getting primary opponents out of this. But, despite how unaware MSNBC host Joy Reid may be of this, neither of them are up for re-election until 2024. As Henry Olsen wrote in an opinion piece for The Washington Post on Wednesday, "Progressives want to primary Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema? Good luck with that."