Washington senators pledge to protect access to abortion after 50-year-old Roe v. Wade was knocked out

WASHINGTON — Washington Democratic senators on Tuesday pledged to block any Republican effort to further restrict abortion at the federal level after the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, which had protected the right to abortion, with some limitations. for almost half a century.

Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, speaking outside the Capitol after marking the somber 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision over the weekend, told reporters they would defy Republican legislation in Congress to take back abortion rights, which the GOP lawmakers have already done so, starting at the state level.

“On Sunday we should have commemorated 50 years of Roe – 50 years of women having the constitutional right to make their own healthcare decisions,” Murray said. “Instead, it marked the first anniversary since Republicans overthrew Roe, pulled us out half a century, struck down a constitutional right for the first time in our history, and enacted ban after ban after the deadly, dangerous abortion ban.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., introduced a bill in September that would make abortion illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except for victims of rape and incest. That bill has no chance of passing a Democratic majority in the Senate and would be vetoed by President Joe Biden, but its introduction highlighted the stakes of the 2022 election for pro-abortion advocates.

Many Democrats have attributed their better-than-expected midterm election performance to a backlash over the conservative Supreme Court majority that overthrew Roe, and voters backed abortion rights in ballot measures in six states — Montana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, California and Vermont .

“In November, Republicans, Democrats and independents made it clear that it is not okay to violate women’s rights in the United States,” Cantwell said, urging Congress to pass legislation to restore abortion rights nationwide to adopt. Such a bill is sure to fail in the Republican-controlled House and does not have the support needed to overcome a GOP filibuster in the Senate.

Cantwell highlighted the impact the end of federal abortion protections had on states like Washington that border states that ban abortion, like Idaho, where state law only allows termination of pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, or to save life allowed by the mother.

“After Roe v. Wade fell, East Washington’s Planned Parenthood reported that the number of patients from Idaho rose to 78%,” she said. “This is now an ongoing crisis for our state’s reproductive health care system. The people of Idaho will not stop trying to get pregnant, and they will not stop seeking the best medical care. They will cross our borders.”

Abortion rights advocates point out that the ban on abortion also restricts other vital health services, such as miscarriage treatment, which may require the same procedures.

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, a Democrat representing southwestern Washington, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that after a miscarriage in 2020, she had to drive hours to get to the nearest clinic that would perform a necessary procedure, where she encountered anti-abortionists. Doctors told her, Gluesenkamp Pérez wrote, that without this care she could have died or given birth to her now 17-month-old son.

On Saturday, ABC News reported that an Idaho woman had to wait eight days — and make three trips to the hospital — before receiving the treatment she needed for a miscarriage due to the state’s restrictive abortion laws.

While most Republicans in Congress supported the overthrow of Roe v. Wade through the Supreme Court, they have so far shown little appetite to pass sweeping abortion restrictions. Instead, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed two narrow bills on Jan. 11: One would require doctors to care for a child who survives an abortion attempt — an extremely rare occurrence. The others condemned attacks on anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers,” with Gluesenkamp Pérez being one of only three Democrats to vote for the non-binding resolution.


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