WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine the devastating fallout since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June 2022. “The Assault on Reproductive Rights in a Post-Dobbs America” is the first hearing focused on reproductive rights in the House or the Senate this Congress.
Today’s hearing follows the full committee hearing Durbin held in July 2022 entitled, “A Post-Roe America: The Legal Consequences of the Dobbs Decision.”
“Over the past year, Americans have learned a painful lesson on the dangers of judicial activism. Lives have been disrupted. Life-saving health care has been declared illegal. And women have been denied their fundamental liberties.”
“The chaos began last June… when the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. With a single ruling, the right-wing majority overruled five decades of legal precedent, revoking a constitutional right for the first time ever in the history of this nation.”
“In the years leading up to the Dobbs decision, we were warned about the danger of overruling Roe v. Wade. Medical experts warned us it would unleash an immediate health care crisis across this nation. Legal experts warned us it would establish a disastrous precedent in which unelected judges can deny fundamental freedoms. And women across the country warned us that overturning Roe v. Wade would insert politicians and judges into the most personal decision imaginable, and ultimately force women into continuing pregnancies that may not be viable, or may endanger their lives. Tragically, all of these warnings have proven to be true.”
“With the Dobbs decision, Justice Alito and the majority claimed that overruling Roe would finally settle the so-called controversy over abortion by returning the issue to the states and elected leaders. Well, months later, we’ve learned the opposite is true. The Dobbs decision didn’t resolve anything. It merely replaced controversy with chaos. And it paved the way for activist judges and Republican lawmakers to try to impose their anti-choice agenda on everyone else, even in states that have protected the right to abortion. Their ultimate goal is clear: a total ban on abortion nationwide.”
“A few weeks ago, a judge in Amarillo, Texas, issued a nationwide ruling banning one of the safest forms of reproductive care: Mifepristone… Thankfully, the Supreme Court issued a temporary reprieve by staying the decision last week—so, for the moment, mifepristone remains on the market as the case is considered on the merits.”
“It begs the obvious question: What’s next? Is it going to be birth control pills? The morning after pill? Do we want to live in a country where judges and politicians replace doctors, medical experts, and scientists as the arbiters of which drugs are safe?”
“That’s why Congress needs to step up and address this chaos. We need to respect the rights of women to make their own health care decisions. And we can do it by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would restore abortion access across America.”
“Now the question is: will our Republican colleagues stand with the vast majority of Americans who support legal access to abortion?”
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.