01.21.16

Murray on Roe v. Wade Anniversary: “We Won’t Go Back”

Murray highlights Republican attempts to roll back women’s constitutionally protected health care rights

 

Murray: “We’re not going back to the days when, because women had less control over their own bodies, they had less equality and less opportunity”

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee delivered remarks on the Senate floor ahead of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In her remarks, Murray discussed Republican attempts to roll back women’s access to constitutionally protected reproductive health care, including the extreme anti-abortion Texas law involved in the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court. Murray highlighted that while Republicans continue to undermine women’s rights, Democrats are going to continue to fight back and push for continued progress.

 

Last month Senator Murray led a group of 160 members of the Senate and House in filing an amicus brief in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which highlighted the burden laws like the one passed in Texas place on women as they try to exercise their constitutionally protected health care rights.

 

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“The 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Roe v. Wade is tomorrow—so this is an important time to remember how much this decision has meant for women’s equality, opportunity, and health, why it’s so important that we continue defending the hard-won gains women have made, and why we need to keep pushing for continued progress.”

 

“Since this Congress began, more than 80 bills have been introduced in Congress that would undermine a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own choices about her own body. The House and Senate have voted a total of 20 times on legislation that would roll back women’s health and rights. And that’s not all. Republicans have pushed budget proposals that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act and slash funding for family planning. And after a summer of using deceptive, highly-edited videos to discredit Planned Parenthood and try to take away health care services that one in five women rely on over their lifetimes, the House has doubled down by launching a special investigative committee to keep up the political attacks.”

 

to be clear—a right means nothing without the ability to exercise that right. And laws like HB2 in Texas and many others like it across the country, driven by extreme conservative efforts to undermine women’s access to care are without question getting in between women and their rights. Especially the rights of women who can’t afford to take off of work and drive hundreds of miles just to get health care.   Later this year, the Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold Texas’s extreme anti-abortion law—and in doing so, they’ll decide whether women can act on the rights they are afforded in the Constitution.   M. President, this law puts women’s lives at risk. It is the biggest threat to women’s constitutional rights in over a decade.”

 

“Women have been fighting back for generations. We’re going to keep fighting back now. We’re not going back to the days when, because women had less control over their own bodies, they had less equality and less opportunity. And as we defend the progress we’ve made, we’ll keep pushing for more—from continuing to expand access so that where a woman lives doesn’t determine what health care she can get, to expanding access to affordable birth control and family planning, to fighting back against domestic violence and sexual assault, which disproportionately impact women, and much more. We’re going to keep pushing for progress because we believe strongly that the next generation of women—our daughters and granddaughters—should have stronger rights and more opportunity, not less.”

 

Full text of Murray’s remarks:

 

“Thank you, M. President. And thank you to my colleagues who are joining me on this and so many other efforts to stand up for women.

 

“The 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Roe v. Wade is tomorrow—so this is an important time to remember how much this decision has meant for women’s equality, opportunity, and health, why it’s so important that we continue defending the hard-won gains women have made, and why we need to keep pushing for continued progress.

 

“For anyone who supports a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health care choices, this has been a tough and trying Congress.

 

“To be honest, at the beginning of 2015, I gave my Republican colleagues the benefit of the doubt. I hoped that in the majority, they might focus more on governing and less on trying to get in between a woman and her rights.

 

“Unfortunately, that didn’t last long.

 

“Since this Congress began, more than eighty bills have been introduced in Congress that would undermine a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own choices about her own body.

 

“The House and Senate have voted a total of 20 times on legislation that would roll back women’s health and rights.

 

“And that’s not all. Republicans have pushed budget proposals that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act and slash funding for family planning.

 

“And after a summer of using deceptive, highly-edited videos to discredit Planned Parenthood and try to take away health care services that one in five women rely on over their lifetimes, the House has doubled down by launching a special investigative committee to keep up the political attacks.

 

“And of course, similar efforts to undermine women’s constitutionally protected health care rights are underway all across the country.

 

“Nowhere is this clearer than in Texas, where an extreme anti-abortion law could force 75 percent of clinics statewide to close.

 

“If this law stands, 900,000 women of child-bearing age will have to drive as far as 300 miles round trip to get the care they need.

 

“M. President—to be clear—a right means nothing without the ability to exercise that right.

 

“And laws like HB2 in Texas and many others like it across the country, driven by extreme conservative efforts to undermine women’s access to care are without question getting in between women and their rights.

 

“Especially the rights of women who can’t afford to take off of work and drive hundreds of miles just to get health care. 

 

“Later this year, the Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold Texas’s extreme anti-abortion law—and in doing so, they’ll decide whether women can act on the rights they are afforded in the Constitution. 

 

“M. President, this law puts women’s lives at risk. It is the biggest threat to women’s constitutional rights in over a decade.

 

“That’s why I’m working with many of my Democratic colleagues to call on the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade and protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. 

 

“And today, as we head into a year that is absolutely critical for women, I’ve got a message for those who want to turn back the clock. These efforts to undermine women’s health care are nothing new.

 

“Women have been fighting back for generations. We’re going to keep fighting back now.

 

“We’re not going back to the days when, because women had less control over their own bodies, they had less equality and less opportunity.

 

“And as we defend the progress we’ve made, we’ll keep pushing for more—from continuing to expand access so that where a woman lives doesn’t determine what health care she can get, to expanding access to affordable birth control and family planning, to fighting back against domestic violence and sexual assault, which disproportionately impact women, and much more.

 

“We’re going to keep pushing for progress because we believe strongly that the next generation of women—our daughters and granddaughters—should have stronger rights and more opportunity—not less.

 

“And my colleagues and I here in the Senate are going to keep working hard, every day, to bring women’s voices to the Senate floor—and show that when women are stronger, our country is stronger.

 

“Thank you—and let’s keep up the fight.”