VIDEO - On Senate Floor, Klobuchar Emphasizes Importance of Protecting Women’s Freedom To Make Their Own Healthcare Decisions
Klobuchar: “For the first time in generations, we may live in a world where women have fewer rights than their moms or their grandmas. That’s not the world that we want.”
WASHINGTON - On the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee called for the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, emphasizing the importance of protecting women’s freedom to make their own health care decisions, following the leaked Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
“Congress must act to codify the principles of Roe v. Wade into law,” said Klobuchar. “These protections are desperately needed and it is our responsibility to take action so that this fundamental right remains real for the women and the men who stand with them across this country.”
Highlighting the consequences of the reported Supreme Court decision, Klobuchar continued: “For the first time in generations, and I want young people out there to think of this, we may live in a world where women have fewer rights than their moms or their grandmas. That’s not the world that we want.”
Madam President, I come to the floor today at a pivotal time for women’s rights in this country. I want to thank Senator Blumenthal and Murray and many others, including Senator Baldwin, for their leadership on this issue and on the Women’s Health Protection Act.
We learned last week, Mr. President, that it is very likely that the Supreme Court will overrule Roe v. Wade.
The leaked opinion made it clear. It means the Supreme Court is on track to completely overrule Roe, stripping women of their constitutional right to seek an abortion. It will also be, I note, against the wishes of the somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of Americans who believe that this is a decision that should be made between a woman and her doctor. Not with Senator Cruz, not a bunch of politicians in Washington, but a decision that should be made between a woman and her doctor.
50 years stripped away of women’s rights. And the fall, Mr. President, will be swift. Over 20 states already have laws in place that could be used to restrict access, including 13 which will automatically go into effect if the Supreme Court issues the decision.
We have also seen states preparing to take even more extreme steps if Roe is overturned. Last week, Republican lawmakers in Louisiana advanced a bill to immediately classify abortion as a homicide and allow the state to prosecute women - prosecute women - for receiving care.
Earlier this year, a bill was introduced by Republican legislatures in Missouri to allow private citizens to sue people who help women leave the state to get care.
This comes on top of the 19 states that already have laws in place to ban or restrict access to medication abortion.
What this all comes down to is a fundamental question: Who is making these personal decisions -- politicians, or a woman? And are women equal citizens under the law?
If Roe is overturned, women in this country will receive different treatment under the law than men – and our access to critical care will be at the mercy of a patchwork of laws.
We have all seen what happens on the ground when these kinds of restrictions are enacted. Texas law last year denies access to at least 85 percent of patients seeking abortion-related services, some women in Texas have had to drive nearly 250 miles one way to get care.
No one should have to take a bus across the country to make a personal health care decision. A woman in Louisiana or in Missouri or in Texas should not be treated differently than a woman in Minnesota.
While we are all deeply disturbed by the impact this decision will have on women and the men who stand with them, unfortunately, many of us have seen this coming.
Republicans have been methodically preparing for this moment—stacking the courts with judges who want to overturn Roe, and introducing over 500 bills in states across the country limiting access to care.
While this is still a draft decision, I am seriously concerned that the Court’s apparent willingness to disregard nearly 50 years of rights will not only put women’s health at risk, but will undermine the rule of law.
This draft leaked opinion brings us back to the 50’s. The issue is we always thought it would be the 1950’s, when it is truly the 1850’s. And the people of this country do not want to go backwards when it comes to their freedoms. Because that is what this is about - their freedoms to make their own decisions.
So what can the Senate do in the face of this threat to freedom?
All three branches of government have a responsibility to protect people’s rights. And if one branch doesn’t do its job, that’s how this system was set up constitutionally, then it’s up to another to step in.
Congress must act to codify the principles of Roe v. Wade into law – and we will have the opportunity to do just that on the floor today when we cast our votes on the Women’s Health Protection Act.
These protections are desperately needed and it is our responsibility to take action so that this fundamental right remains real for the women and the men who stand with them across this country - freedom, equality under the law.
For the first time in generations, and I want young people out there to think of this, we may live in a world where women have fewer rights than their moms or their grandmas. That’s not the world that we want.
I urge my colleagues to stand up with the majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions or freedom to make her decisions by enshrining the protections of Roe v. Wade into law.