WASHINGTON — Democratic Senate leadership expressed their support for abortion rights at a press conference Tuesday, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the seven-month anniversary of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democratic members spent Tuesday in mourning.
“We mourn the fact that millions of women and girls now have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers,” Schumer said. “We mourn the loss of individual freedoms. We mourn the loss of a woman’s right to choose.”
He also said that the Dobbs decision, which overturned the federal decriminalization of abortion established in Roe v. Wade, would not be the last Republican attempt to restrict abortion. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatened a nationwide abortion ban, he said, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) has proposed legislation prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Patty Murray (D-Wash.) followed Schumer’s remarks, adding that her time in office has been difficult since the Dobbs decision.
“The months since (Dobbs) have been really hard,” Murray said. “They have been heartbreaking, and the health care crisis that followed has been horrific.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said the health care crisis in her and Murray’s home state has been overwhelming. She added that the reported number of people coming from Idaho to seek an abortion in Washington has gone up 78% since Dobbs.
Cantwell said this has added costs and extended wait times for millions of women seeking abortions.
“The United States Senate needs to act,” Cantwell said. “We are not going to play defense. We’re going to play offense. We’re here to stand with these organizations to say to our Republican colleagues, ‘it’s time that they stand up and help protect a woman’s right to choose.’”
Senators were joined by representatives from NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, among others. Nonprofit leaders praised senators for prioritizing abortion access.
“Democrats in the Senate continue to fight for reproductive freedom and they have shown that protecting our fundamental rights is their top priority,” NARAL President Mini Timmaraju said.