Gary Peters, D-Mich., became the first Senator to openly share his abortion story in 2020, revealing that his ex-wife received a medically-necessary abortion in the late 1980s, potentially saving her life.
Today, Peters is the Chairman of the Democratic National Senatorial Committee (DSCC), tasked with electing more Democrats to the evenly-divided Senate. He’s focused on driving voters to the polls this November, and calls abortion “a top issue” for Americans, now that the Supreme Court has overturned federal protections.
But while some of his colleagues are floating ideas like expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court and eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold known as the filibuster to counter the court’s decision, Peters is all in on the ballot box.
“Right now, I’m focused on one thing and that’s electing Democratic senators to the United States Senate,” Peters told NBC News in an interview on Monday. “Our focus in my mind has to be 100% on making sure that we maintain and we expand the Democratic majority in the United States Senate. That’s how we affect real change.”
Over the last several weeks since the court’s draft opinion was leaked, Democrats, many of them women, called on the Biden administration to take executive action in a bid to protect women’s healthcare rights. They made attempts at shoring up support for federal legislation, like codifying abortion pill access, and tried to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, but it was blocked by Republicans and Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.V.
“When it comes to legislation, folks have to realize that we need the votes,” Peters said, bringing the conversation back to the “only way” Democrats will be able to enact abortion protections at the federal level.
“It’s as simple as that. The only way that we’re going to get those votes is electing Democratic senators who are pro-choice and are going to stand up for the rights of women in this country.”