WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “A Post-Roe America: The Legal Consequences of the Dobbs Decision.”
“A little over two weeks ago, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The majority overturned nearly five decades of precedent, holding that the U.S. Constitution does not protect a woman’s right to abortion—reversing both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This case represents the first time in America’s history that the Supreme Court has revoked a constitutionally protected right.”
“In overturning Roe, the Supreme Court has unleashed a health care crisis across America. And make no mistake: Women’s health and [in] some cases their lives are at risk.”
“Since the Dobbs decision, at least 10 states have banned abortion, and more are expected to join. The bans we’ve seen include insufficient and confusing exceptions for the life of the mother. Many do not even provide exceptions for rape or incest—and when they do, they are unwieldy and inadequate.”
“A woman facing complications in her pregnancy could die waiting in the hallway of a hospital because a doctor must weigh the risk of jail time against making the best decision for the health of their patient. And they mean that individuals and organizations who help someone travel to a state like my state of Illinois, where abortion is legal, may face legal liability.”
“In his majority opinion, Justice Alito claims that by overruling Roe and Casey, the Court was simply returning the power to decide how abortion may be regulated to the state. But Dobbs raises many questions with no answers—leaving health care providers and patients to navigate new restrictions that will likely—and rightfully—face further constitutional challenges.”
“In a post-Roe America, it is not only abortion rights that are in peril. Other constitutional rights are now under threat. And that’s not my conclusion—it’s Justice Clarence Thomas’s. According to him, your constitutional right to privacy is a fiction. In his concurring opinion, Justice Thomas declares that the Court should, ‘eliminate’ the constitutional rights to birth control, marriage equality, and consensual relationships between LGBTQ people.”
“Today, three in four Americans say they have lost faith in the Supreme Court—a record low. And it’s easy to see why: Families are living in fear that their most cherished rights are on the conservative chopping block.”
“We know the Republican plan: win control of Congress and impose a federal ban on abortion. Democrats have a different plan: protect your rights by enshrining in [to] law a federal statutory right to an abortion. In fact, that is exactly what the vast majority of Americans support—keeping access to abortion legal. A woman’s choice to get an abortion is her choice alone. Politicians have no business sitting in the waiting room with the doctor.”
Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.