05.15.19

Murray Blasts Republicans for Pushing Extreme Laws and Extreme Judges in Efforts to Undermine Women’s Reproductive Rights

Murray speaks out against extreme abortion ban passed in Alabama, and judicial nominee with alarming track record attacking women’s reproductive rights

 

Murray on Alabama abortion ban: “I am appalled by the extreme, cruel, shameful abortion ban passed yesterday in Alabama. This legislation is nothing short of an attack on women.”

 

Murray criticized judicial nominee Wendy Vitter for her past activism against women’s reproductive rights, including efforts to bolster lies and misinformation about women’s health

 

Vitter suggested people share a brochure filled with outrageous falsehoods about women’s health with their doctors and ask them to leave it in their waiting rooms

 

Murray on Vitter: “Do Republicans really want to mark the [65th anniversary of the Brown v Board decision] by confirming a judge who has voiced more support for outright lies about women’s health, than for the historic decision that struck down state-sponsored segregation?”

 

***Watch Senator Murray’s full speech HERE***

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, took to the Senate floor to speak out against Republicans’ latest attacks on women’s reproductive rights. She began her speech by criticizing the extreme abortion ban passed in Alabama yesterday, and then went on to outline her opposition to judicial nominee Wendy Vitter. Senator Murray shared her concern with Vitter’s past activism against women’s reproductive rights, including efforts to promote outrageous misinformation about women’s health. Senator Murray also expressed her concern that Vitter’s record leaves it unclear whether she believes the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision was correctly decided—a question Vitter refused to resolve in her confirmation hearing.

 

Key excerpts from  Senator Murray’s speech:

 

“I am appalled by the extreme, cruel, shameful abortion ban passed yesterday in Alabama. This legislation is nothing short of an attack on women—and it is part of a larger effort we’re seeing around the country to take away women’s constitutional right to safe, legal abortion, and allow politicians to make decisions for women about their bodies, their health, and their lives instead of trusting doctors and women. I want every woman reading the news this morning and wondering what this means for you, for your family, for your granddaughters, to know that I am with you and I’m going to keep fighting for you every step of the way.”

 

“I oppose Wendy Vitter’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. President Trump and Vice President Pence have made it clear they want to pack the judiciary with far-right judges who will turn back the clock on reproductive rights, and this nominee is no exception. Time and again, Mrs. Vitter has advocated against women’s reproductive rights using inflammatory language and falsehoods. She has demonstrated a keen sense of partisanship, and a poor sense of judgement”

 

“She also failed to disclose the time she moderated a deeply dishonest panel called ‘Abortion Hurts Women’s Health.’ Mrs. Vitter prompted panelists to peddle misinformation about women’s health, encouraging a discussion that falsely suggested abortion is linked to issues like cancer and infertility. One panelist spoke at length about a deeply inaccurate brochure she’d authored called ‘How the Pill Kills.’ As you can tell from the title, the brochure was loaded with glaring falsehoods. Like the false claim that birth control causes breast cancer. Or that women on birth control are more likely to die a violent death. In response to that speaker’s long string of dangerous lies about women’s health care, Mrs. Vitter encouraged attendees to download that brochure, bring it to their doctors, and ask them to put it in their waiting rooms.”

 

“This should be simple. Someone whose statements and record fail to support the Brown v. Board decision—cannot be trusted with the responsibility of deciding the historic cases of tomorrow. Someone who has worked to spread misinformation about contraceptives, and undermine the constitutional right to safe legal abortion enshrined in Roe v. Wade—cannot be trusted to fight for the truth or uphold women’s reproductive rights. In other words, someone like Wendy Vitter cannot be trusted with a lifetime seat on the federal bench.”

 

Read Senator Murray’s full speech below and watch it HERE.

 

“Thank you, M. President.

 

“I want to start by saying that I am appalled by the extreme, cruel, shameful abortion ban passed yesterday in Alabama.

 

“This legislation is nothing short of an attack on women—and it is part of a larger effort we’re seeing around the country to take away women’s constitutional right to safe, legal abortion, and allow politicians to make decisions for women about their bodies, their health, and their lives instead of trusting doctors and women.

 

“I want every woman reading the news this morning and wondering what this means for you, for your family, for your granddaughters, to know that I am with you and I’m going to keep fighting for you every step of the way.

 

“And I’ll now explain my opposition to Wendy Vitter’s nomination, which is yet another step extreme politicians are taking to undermine women’s rights and access to health care.

 

“I oppose Wendy Vitter’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

 

“President Trump and Vice President Pence have made it clear they want to pack the judiciary with far-right judges who will turn back the clock on reproductive rights, and this nominee is no exception.

 

“Time and again, Mrs. Vitter has advocated against women’s reproductive rights using inflammatory language and falsehoods.

 

“She has demonstrated a keen sense of partisanship, and a poor sense of judgement. Starting with her initial response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire.

 

“Mrs. Vitter left out important information about her past statements in her response to the Committee —the kind of serious omissions Republicans have objected to with other nominees.

“I’m not talking about a small memory lapse, I’m talking about nearly two hundred additional pages that had to be added to her response once they were brought to light.

 

“I’m not talking about insignificant statements—things that are hard to find, or easy to forget, I’m talking about campaign ads, panel discussions, and political rallies.

 

“And I’m not talking about innocent, uncontroversial comments. I’m talking about the fearmongering of an activist who is entirely unfit for the federal bench.

 

“For example, Mrs. Vitter initially failed to disclosure her remarks at a political rally opposing the construction of a Planned Parenthood clinic, remarks where she claimed Planned Parenthood—which provides low-cost health care like cancer screenings, STI screenings, and contraceptive care to millions of people—is responsible for killing 150,000 women a year.

“That is careless, reckless, and wrong. And it’s incredibly poor judgement for someone who we are considering for a lifetime judicial appointment.

 

“She also failed to disclose the time she moderated a deeply dishonest panel called ‘Abortion Hurts Women’s Health.’

 

“Mrs. Vitter prompted panelists to peddle misinformation about women’s health, encouraging a discussion that falsely suggested abortion is linked to issues like cancer and infertility.

 

“One panelist spoke at length about a deeply inaccurate brochure she’d authored called ‘How the Pill Kills.’ As you can tell from the title, the brochure was loaded with glaring falsehoods. Like the false claim that birth control causes breast cancer. Or that women on birth control are more likely to die a violent death.

“In response to that speaker’s long string of dangerous lies about women’s health care, Mrs. Vitter encouraged attendees to download that brochure, bring it to their doctors, and ask them to put it in their waiting rooms.

 

“It’s incredibly alarming that a nominee for the federal bench would be so willing to voice her support for such dangerous propaganda, especially when that same nominee is unwilling to voice her support for one of the landmark civil rights cases in our country’s history—Brown v. Board of Education.

 

“During her confirmation hearing, Mrs. Vitter was asked whether Brown v. Board was decided correctly. It wasn’t a trick question. Many past judicial nominees—including Chief Justice John Roberts—have been able to answer it.

 

“Mrs. Vitter refused.

 

“This week we will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Brown v. Board decision.

“Do Republicans really want to mark the occasion by confirming a judge who has voiced more support for outright lies about women’s health, than for the historic decision that struck down state-sponsored segregation?

 

“This should be simple. Someone whose statements and record fail to support the Brown v. Board decision—cannot be trusted with the responsibility of deciding the historic cases of tomorrow.

 

“Someone who has worked to spread misinformation about contraceptives, and undermine the constitutional right to safe legal abortion enshrined in Roe v. Wade—cannot be trusted to fight for the truth or uphold women’s reproductive rights.

 

“In other words, someone like Wendy Vitter cannot be trusted with a lifetime seat on the federal bench.

 

“I urge my colleagues to join me in rejecting her nomination.

 

“And while President Trump and Vice President Pence may keep sending us these far-right nominees, and Senate Republicans may keep trying to jam them through under the radar, Democrats are not going to stand by or stand down.

 

“They may try to push our courts to the right—but we are going to keep pushing back.

 

“We are going to keep holding a spotlight up to these nominees and making clear just how extreme they are.

 

“And we are going to keep fighting for women, men, and families across the country.

 

“Thank you.”

 

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