05.11.22

On Senate Floor, Senator Murray Sounds Alarm About Post-Roe Future, Pushes to Pass WHPA

Senator Murray: “People across the country do not want to go back. They do not want politicians planning their families for them. They do not want politicians forcing people to stay pregnant. They do not want this to be the first generation of women with fewer rights than their mothers.”

 

***WATCH: SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR REMARKS***

  

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, took to the Senate floor to urge her colleagues to vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) to protect the right to abortion as the Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade.

 

“Last week, the country learned the Supreme Court is preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, end the constitutional right to abortion, and make this the first generation of women in this country to have fewer rights than their mothers,” said Senator Murray. “Think about that for a second. My daughter, my granddaughters, will have fewer rights than I did. I truly never thought I’d say that—and it breaks my heart.”

 

In her remarks, Senator Murray laid out how overturning Roe will irreparably hurt women and patients across the country. She made clear this is the future Republicans have been working around-the-clock to create—and they won’t stop at overturning Roe. They are already talking about a nationwide abortion ban, working to make it harder for women to get the birth control they need, and so much more—and they will own the consequences of their relentless attacks on everyone’s reproductive rights.

 

“I know after so many decades of precedent—an end to the right so many women have lived with their entire life seems completely unthinkable but this is real, this is happening—and Republicans have been preparing for it for decades,” said Senator Murray. “We are about to see a tidal wave of abortion bans sweep this country. So this vote will force Republicans to face up to the hurt and suffering they have caused—and will cause. The lives that hang in the balance.”

 

“It is clearer than ever that because of Republicans’ extremism, not only is the right to abortion at risk, but other important rights—like the right to birth control, and the right to marry who you love—could be on the chopping block,” added Senator Murray.

 

Senator Murray stressed that people across the country do not support Republicans’ extreme agenda—and do not want to turn back the clock on decades of progress.

 

“I am very fearful, but I am also determined and I know that people across the country do not want to go back. They do not want politicians planning their families for them. They do not want politicians forcing people to stay pregnant. They do not want this to be the first generation of women with fewer rights than their mothers,” said Senator Murray. “Which is why, today we are voting on the Women’s Health Protection Act.”

 

Senator Murray closed her remarks by making clear to her colleagues that the question before them is very simple: “Do you trust women? Do you trust patients? Do you trust doctors? Do you believe that every American should be able to make deeply personal decisions about pregnancy and parenting according to their own beliefs, without the government interfering? If your answer is yes—then your vote on this bill should be too.


“If your answer is no—if you think women should have fewer rights—if you think it’s okay for Republican politicians to force someone else to stay pregnant or give birth when they don’t want to, you are going to have to go on the record and let your constituents know that you think your personal opinion matters more than their own medical decisions. And you better believe they are not going to forget it.”

 

Senator Murray’s floor remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below.

 

“Last week, the country learned the Supreme Court is preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, end the constitutional right to abortion, and make this the first generation of women in this country to have fewer rights than their mothers.

 

“Think about that for a second.

 

“My daughter, my granddaughters, will have fewer rights than I did.

 

“I truly never thought I’d say that—and it breaks my heart.

 

“These past few days have been just heart wrenching. I’ve seen the emotion—I’ve felt it.

 

“But let me tell you something, M. President—as heartbroken as people are, they are also mad.

 

“And you can’t blame them. I’m mad too.

 

“Because we are watching as the Supreme Court prepares to drag this country backward—by a half century.

 

“Across the country Republicans in state legislatures are banning abortion, and they’re making it crystal clear they’re going to go even further.

 

“They’re coming after your mail—because they want to make it illegal to send abortion medication in the mail.

 

“They are coming after your birth control.

 

“They’re coming after Plan B, and IUDs.

 

“And right here in the Senate—they are talking about a federal abortion ban—a federal abortion ban.

 

“That means even in states like mine, where the right to abortion is protected.

 

“Senate Republicans want to make sure women from Seattle to New York can’t make their own health care decisions.

 

“Because for many Republicans, this is just the beginning!

“But—to everyone who is scared, to everyone who is furious—know this, they’ve got some big road blocks in their way.

 

“Me… Senate Democrats… House Democrats.

 

“And millions and millions of patients across the country standing up and speaking out.

 

“So I rise today to make sure women across the country have their voices heard.

 

“I rise to make sure Republicans have to show their true colors.

 

“To make sure every single one of them is forced to go on the record when it comes to the right to abortion—when it comes the right of every patient to make their own decisions about their body, every mother to make their own decisions about their family, and every woman to make their own decisions about their future.

 

“Because while Republicans have been constantly attacking the right to abortion while they have been pushing to end that right day-in and day-out for decades on end, they have been almost silent on what overturning Roe v. Wade will actually mean for people.

“Taking away a woman’s bodily autonomy—which let’s be clear, is exactly what Republicans are talking about here—impacts her whole life.

 

“Forced pregnancy limits a woman’s entire economic future.

 

“It takes away her ability to determine the direction of her own life.

 

“It forces women to be pregnant and give birth when they don’t want to—no matter the individual’s circumstances.

 

“It hurts people in real and irreparable ways!

 

“I know after so many decades of precedent—an end to the right so many women have lived with their entire life seems completely unthinkable but this is real, this is happening—and Republicans have been preparing for it for decades.

 

“We are about to see a tidal wave of abortion bans sweep this country.

 

“So this vote will force Republicans to face up to the hurt and suffering they have caused—and will cause. The lives that hang in the balance.

“And we know that if Roe falls, the heaviest burdens will land on those who already face the greatest challenges. It’s mothers who are barely scraping by. It’s Black women who already face a severe maternal mortality crisis. It’s Indigenous women—especially those on Tribal lands—who suffer from violence at unprecedented levels. It’s women with disabilities who may already face discrimination in routine medical care. It’s women in rural communities who have less resources and are often already forced to drive miles to get the care they need. It’s immigrant women, especially undocumented women, and it is our gay and trans neighbors, who Republicans  never seem to miss an opportunity to scapegoat or bully.

 

“And I don’t want people in my state to think this won’t impact them too—because it will.

 

“And my colleagues know: I am not one to grandstand or exaggerate the scope of the crises that come before us on the Senate floor.

 

“When I said this was a five-alarm fire, I meant it: we need to be clear-eyed that this will impact all of us.

 

“For one thing—we know the health care crises caused by abortion bans——and that’s what they are, crises. They stretch across state lines.

“When Texas passed a law letting people sue strangers for getting or providing an abortion—desperate patients rushed to Oklahoma—only for that state to pass an extreme ban as well—meaning more patients, travelling even farther, with even fewer options to get the care they need.

 

“And we are seeing this firsthand in Washington state too.

 

“After Idaho passed a draconian abortion ban of its own, my state had to brace for incoming patients surging into Washington.

 

“So there can be no question if Roe is struck down nationally—if states across the country ban the right to abortion—people in every single state will live with the painful consequences of that decision.

 

“And they will not forget that Republicans are the ones responsible for it.

 

“And M. President, let’s also remember—Republicans have been clear—they have been explicit even—that they are not going to stop at Roe, they are not going to stop at the state level, and they are not going to stop at abortion.

“I can’t say this enough: Republicans are already talking about passing a federal ban on abortion.

 

“Republicans are already talking about how Griswold—the case that struck down a ban on birth control—might have been wrongly decided.

 

“Republicans are already talking about banning IUDs and Plan B.

 

“They even held a vote just a few weeks ago to undermine our federal family planning program, and make it harder for people to get birth control.

 

“M. President, it is clearer than ever that because of Republicans’ extremism, not only is the right to abortion at risk, but other important rights, like the right to birth control, and the right to marry who you love—could be on the chopping block.

 

“That’s why people are so scared, and so shocked.

 

“Someone back home asked me last week—what can I tell women in our state so they don’t worry—I said straight up: ‘I’m not telling anyone to not worry—I’m scared and I’m more frightened for women in this country than I have ever been.’

“I am very fearful, M. President, but I am also determined, and I know people across the country do not want to go back.

 

“They do not want politicians planning their families for them. They do not want politicians forcing people to stay pregnant. They do not want this to be the first generation of women with fewer rights than their mothers.

 

“Which is why, today we are voting on the Women’s Health Protection Act.

 

“What this bill does is simple: It follows the Constitution and nearly half a century of precedent and gives patients the right to get an abortion, and doctors the right to provide abortion care, no matter where in America that patient or doctor lives.

 

“And the question before every single Senator today is simple as well: Do you trust women? Do you trust patients? Do you trust doctors? Do you believe every American should be able to make deeply personal decisions about pregnancy and parenting according to their own beliefs, without the government interfering?

 

“If your answer is yes—then your vote on this bill should be too.

 

“And if your answer is no—if you think women should have fewer rights—if you think it’s okay for Republican politicians to force someone else to stay pregnant or give birth when they don’t want to, you are going to have to go on the record and let your constituents know that you think your personal opinion matters more than their own medical decisions.

 

“And you better believe they are not going to forget it.

 

“Thank you.”

 

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