01.22.22

On Roe Anniversary, Senator Murray Pushes to Protect Abortion Rights and Pass Women’s Health Protection Act

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

 

ICYMI: Senator Murray held a virtual roundtable with patients, providers and advocates from Spokane, WA on the importance of Roe v. Wade, and the urgent need to pass WHPA – 1/20/21

 

(Washington, D.C.) – On the 49th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, made clear that abortion rights are at risk like never before—and vowed to continue her fight to make sure everyone has the reproductive health care they want by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act, making it easier to get birth control, and investing in family planning services—including at Planned Parenthood health centers. In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Murray highlighted how despite the non-stop Republican attacks on reproductive rights, the majority of people want to protect Roe and want a country where everyone can make their own decisions about pregnancy and parenting—free from political interference.

 

Roe was a giant leap forward. And a majority of Americans want to protect it. But since Roe was decided, extreme Republicans have peddled blatant misinformation, filled our judicial system with anti-abortion judges, and passed state laws designed solely to make it harder to get abortions—laws that are hurting people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, young people, people with low incomes, and people with disabilities the most.

 

“And when the Supreme Court took on a direct challenge to Roe that threatens the constitutional right to abortion, I’ve heard non-stop from people anxious about the future. People who are scared. People who are frustrated. People who—like the majority of Americans—want to protect Roe, who want to live in a country where everyone can make their own decisions about pregnancy and parenting—free from political interference. That’s why I’m fighting so hard to protect the right to abortion at the federal level, by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.”

 

“But Republicans’ attacks from every angle mean that there's no one, easy fix. We’ve got to do everything we can to un-do the damage the extreme Republicans have caused in our laws and in our lives. It’s why I’m fighting so hard for over-the-counter birth control and to make health insurance companies follow the law, rather than forcing patients to pay out of pocket for contraception. It’s why I’m fighting to make a historic investment in Title X family planning centers … And it’s why I’m asking for everyone to join me in this fight,” continued Senator Murray. “The vast majority of Americans believe people should be trusted to make their own decisions about whether or not to get an abortion, and that whether and when to get pregnant is a personal decision—not a decision that should be made for you by extreme politicians, or taken away from you because of how much money they have or where they live. We can make this a reality. But we’ve got to keep fighting for it. That’s what I’m doing and it’s what I’m going to keep doing.”

 

Senator Murray has long fought to protect reproductive rights for women and spoken out against Republicans’ efforts to restrict patients’ control over their bodies, lives, and futures. Since the Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs, Senator Murray has vowed to fight back and protect Roe, including by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). Following the passage of WHPA in the House, Senator Murray, alongside Leader Schumer, Senator Blumenthal, and Senator Durbin, announced that the Senate would vote on the bill as well.

 

Senator Murray’s full floor speech, as prepared for delivery, is below:

 

“M. President, this weekend is the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

 

“A decision that—without a doubt—changed lives for the better.

 

“It prevented a lot of harm and helped keep many patients healthy, it opened doors for women to pursue their career and education goals, and it affirmed the right to control our own bodies and our own futures.

 

“Roe was a giant leap forward. And a majority of Americans want to protect it.

 

“But since Roe was decided, extreme Republicans have peddled blatant misinformation, filled our judicial system with anti-abortion judges, and passed state laws designed solely to make it harder to get abortions—laws that are now hurting people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, young people, people with low incomes, and people with disabilities the most.

 

“And they aren’t stopping at abortion—they are pushing to make it harder to get birth control and defund family planning clinics—including Planned Parenthood—which provide critical health care for so many communities.

 

“In Texas, Republicans have passed—and the Supreme Court green-lit—a law that essentially bans abortion and is enforced by pitting neighbor against neighbor.

 

“And even though medication abortion pills are safe to take at home extreme Republicans are now pushing to pass laws that not only dictate what happens in a doctor’s office, but also make it harder for patients to take a pill in their very own living room.

 

“You know, Republicans like to talk about ‘big government,’ but overriding peoples’ individual decisions, and science, to dictate what people can do in their own homes sounds like a lot of overreach.

 

“The Senator from Oklahoma’s bill has one goal: to make it harder to get abortion care by allowing someone else’s personal beliefs—rather than a patient’s best interests—to determine a patient’s care.

 

“And that’s just one example of the extreme agenda Republicans are pushing today and every day.

 

“I’ve heard from so many people about the problems and the harm this has caused in their lives.

 

“I’ve heard from so many patients who had to jump through unnecessary or harmful hoops to get the abortion care they needed.

 

“Patients who had to endure invasive ultrasounds that were medically unnecessary before they could get an abortion.

 

“Patients who were harassed going in and out of clinics.

 

“Patients who had to drive hours or even days to get to the nearest abortion provider—or who zero-ed out bank accounts to afford a plane ticket or child care.

 

“Or patients—including so many in Texas—that just didn’t have the means to get the abortion care they need, and were forced to stay pregnant when they didn’t want to be.

 

“And when the Supreme Court took on a direct challenge to Roe that threatens the constitutional right to abortion, I’ve heard non-stop from people anxious about the future.

 

“People who are scared and frustrated.

 

“People who—like the majority of Americans—want to protect Roe, who want to live in a country where everyone can make their own decisions about pregnancy and parenting—free from political interference.

 

“That is exactly why I’m fighting so hard to protect the right to abortion at the federal level, by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.

 

“This bill will safeguard Roe and help make its promises a reality for everyone—no matter their zip code by ensuring the constitutional right to abortion isn’t undermined by state abortion bans and restrictions.

 

“But Republicans’ attacks from every angle—like the one we will witness now—mean that there's no one, easy fix.

 

“We’ve got to do everything we can to un-do the damage the extreme Republicans have caused in our laws and in our lives.

 

“It’s why I’m fighting so hard for over-the-counter birth control and to make health insurance companies follow the law, rather than forcing patients to pay out of pocket for contraception.

 

“It’s why I’m fighting to make a historic investment in Title X family planning centers—which help make health care like birth control, STI screenings, and more available to everyone regardless of income.

 

“And it’s why I’m asking for everyone to join me in this fight.

 

“It’s going to take all of us working together to protect reproductive rights—and there is no action too small.

 

“Share your story. Speak up about what reproductive rights mean to you.

 

“Support a local organization helping to get patients the reproductive health care they need.

 

“Work to combat Republican misinformation. Fight to pass local and state laws protecting abortion rights.

 

“And here’s something to remember while you do it: it is true that extreme Republicans have worked non-stop to roll back progress on reproductive rights—and that abortion access is at risk like never before.

 

“But this is also true: since Roe, millions and millions of American women and men grew up knowing access to abortion is a constitutional right.

 

“Millions and millions more saw how much Roe opened doors for women and empowered people to make their own personal decisions about their bodies and futures.

 

“The vast majority of Americans believe people should be trusted to make their own decisions about whether or not to get an abortion, and that whether and when to get pregnant is a personal decision—not a decision that should be made for you by extreme politicians, or taken away from you because of how much money they have or where they live.

 

“We can make this a reality. But we’ve got to keep fighting for it.

 

“That’s what I’m doing and it’s what I’m going to keep doing.

 

“And I’m so glad to have so many people fighting right alongside me.

 

“Thank you, M. President and I yield the floor.”

 

###