May 10, 2022

Durbin Urges Colleagues to Support the Women's Health Protection Act

Durbin: What the activist, anti-choice majority on this Court would do is unprecedented, radical, and dangerous

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor on the future of Roe v. Wade following the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

“Last week, Americans woke up to the news that was perhaps not unexpected but still stunning.  It appears that in a matter of weeks, we may soon live in a country where women have fewer constitutional rights than their parents or grandparents.  In one bold move, the ultra-conservative, activist majority on the Supreme Court appears poised to erase the constitutional right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term,” Durbin said.  “I want to be clear, the leak of the majority draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is an unprecedented breach of the Court’s confidential deliberations.  It may harm the trust the Justices have in one another as well as the public’s trust in the Court.  Still, one must wonder, why is it that our Republican colleagues have been focused so exclusively on the leak of the draft opinion rather than the substance of the opinion itself?”

Durbin continued, “Sadly, many Republicans are desperately trying to deflect from this ruling and what it means for every single American.  If the legal reasoning in the Court’s draft opinion becomes final, that decision in Dobbs will end a half-century guarantee that the right to abortion is protected in our Constitution… In the past, when the Court has taken the serious step of overturning settled law, it has done so to expand freedom, expand opportunity, not eliminate it.  What the activist, anti-choice majority on this Court would do is unprecedented, radical, and dangerous.”

During his speech, Durbin also encouraged his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify the right to provide and obtain an abortion free from medically unnecessary restrictions.  The Senate will vote on the motion to proceed to this legislation tomorrow.

“That’s why we must take action to protect women’s reproductive rights.  Tomorrow the Senate will vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act.  This bill will codify the right to provide [and] obtain an abortion free from medically unnecessary restrictions.  The American people deserve to know where their Senators stand,” Durbin said.  “I will not stop fighting for the right of every American, especially the women of America, to have these rights as established for over 50 years.” 

Durbin concluded, “For years, the Republicans have claimed they are a party for families, the party of family values, yet they spent decades ignoring the needs of working families.  Republicans are willing to force women to carry unwanted or unexpected or even dangerous pregnancies to term, but they are not willing to help them raise the children.  There are aspects of the voting pattern in the Senate that make it clear that when it comes to helping families with basics such as tax credits for children, making sure that families have paid medical leave for their newborns or other family members, all of these things are family-friendly and family values.  Unfortunately they’re not supported by many, if any, Republicans.  That would be a demonstration that they truly care for families.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

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