***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S ROUNDTABLE HERE***
ICYMI: Senator Murray, Democrats Pushed Biden for “Bold Action” to Protect Abortion Access in a Post-Roe America – MORE HERE
Senator Murray: “Make no mistake: Democrats are not backing down from this fight. And I’m doing everything in my power to fight back.”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), hosted a virtual roundtable with Washington state abortion providers to hear directly about their experiences in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe, thank them for their critical work, and reiterate that she will never stop fighting to protect the right to an abortion in Washington state and across the country. While Washington state has taken great steps to protect the right to an abortion, the Dobbs decision will impact everyone: with Washington state providers set to see a tremendous strain given Idaho’s extreme abortion ban—and with Republicans already eyeing a national abortion ban, which would overrule protections like those in Washington state.
“We knew this ruling from the Court was coming, but knowing it was on the way didn’t make the news less enraging or less devastating,” said Senator Murray. “Republicans’ extremism—and, really, their cruelty—knows no end. They want to overrule abortion protection in states like Washington to ban abortion everywhere. So make no mistake: Democrats are not backing down from this fight. And I’m doing everything in my power to fight back.”
“I am devastated by the Supreme Court decision. The loss of 50 years of bodily autonomy and decision-making for those capable of pregnancy is soul crushing,” said Dr. Deb Oyer, Medical Director of Cedar River Clinics located in the greater Seattle area. “Exactly what the future will bring is unclear. Yet we have always known we are in the long game here. We will continue to see patients, do abortions, and fight the legal battles.”
“Having agency over one’s own body is the most basic element of freedom. When we allow a subset of our society to be stripped of the right to make decisions about their bodies and their healthcare, we lay down the fundamental building blocks for inequality and discrimination,” said Dr. Anna Dowling, Medical Director of the Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood. “We cannot pride ourselves on being a country that champions freedom and the individual pursuit of happiness if we are not willing to ensure this for all members of society. The dismantling of Roe versus Wade destroyed the American promise of freedom for half of the population of our country. You simply cannot be free when someone else controls what you can and cannot do with your own body.”
“We are already seeing the impacts of harmful legislation with 62% of our patient visits for abortion care in Pullman travelling from Idaho this year,” said Paul Dillon, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. “But know this: Our health centers in Washington – with our supportive and expert clinical staff — continue to provide the care and resources you’ve come to rely on. We believe all people — no matter where they live — should have the right to control their own body, life, and future. It is unjust and unacceptable that more than half of the states in the US, including our neighbors in Idaho, are moving to rob patients of that right, forced to overcome unjust barriers simply to access the abortion care they need and deserve.”
Senator Murray has long been a leader in Congress in the fight to protect and expand access to reproductive health care and abortion rights. Since the Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Senator Murray has vowed to fight back and protect Roe v. Wade and everyone’s reproductive rights—including by building support and fighting to hold a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which would protect the right to abortion nationwide.
Since the leaked draft revealed the Supreme Court was planning to overturn Roe, Senator Murray has been a leader in the Senate pushing back: immediately calling the draft a “five alarm fire,” pushing for a vote on WHPA so every Republican Senator was forced to show the American public where they stood, and leading her colleagues in the fight to protect everyone’s reproductive rights. Senator Murray has led her colleagues in urging the Biden administration to craft an all-of-government plan to protect abortion rights. She called out data brokers’ collection and sale of sensitive location data that could put those seeking abortion care at risk—and introduced legislation to ban the practice outright. She introduced legislation condemning the criminalization of the full range of reproductive and sexual health care. Senator Murray also introduced legislation to expand access to affordable, over-the-counter birth control—and has led efforts in Congress to ensure patients can get the birth control they need without being forced to jump through unnecessary hoops or pay out-of-pocket.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, Senator Murray has announced that she will use her gavel as chair of the Senate Health Committee and hold a hearing on the decision’s devastating impacts on women’s health—and she has led her colleagues in once again calling on the Biden administration to take bold action to protect Americans’ reproductive rights.