May 03, 2022

Durbin: Will we Allow our Children to Inherit a Nation that is Less Free than the One Their Parents Grew Up In?

Durbin speaks about the future of Roe v. Wade on the Senate floor

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.

“Americans across the country today woke up to a rare occurrence in the history of our American democracy.  The highest court in our land is preparing to eliminate a federally protected constitutional right, a woman’s right to choose.  I’m an amateur historian, but I can’t think of a precedent in history where the Supreme Court has taken away a constitutional right after it’s been in place for 50 years.  Women in America may soon live in a country where they have fewer rights than their parents and grandparents,” Durbin said.  “Let me be clear – the leak of the majority draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a breach of the Court’s confidentiality deliberations.  But the draft opinion, which has been authenticated by the Chief Justice, is very real.”

Durbin continued, “For the past several decades, the far right has fought relentlessly to eliminate this constitutional right.  They’ve waged a harsh campaign to, in some instances, actually punish the women seeking abortions… At a certain point, you have to ask what is the real goal here?  These restrictive laws won’t stop people from getting abortions.  We know that from history.  They only make the procedure dangerously unsafe, and in some cases prohibitively expensive for low-income Americans.  Women’s lives are literally at stake.” 

Durbin concluded, “Furthermore, we have hardly begun to reckon with the consequences of this decision when it comes to other fundamental liberties… The Supreme Court could turn back the clock on a whole host of civil liberties.  What’s next?  The return of a state ban on contraception?  Bans on same-sex marriage?  Bans on the permissible conduct of LGBTQ people…?  All of that could be on the table.  Now that the Supreme Court has confirmed that this draft is authentic, the members of this Senate cannot delay.  We need to hold a vote codifying the right to abortion in law.  Let’s show the American people where each Senator stands… We will make sure there is a vote and that his [McConnell] members as well as other Senators will have an opportunity to express themselves on the record.  Will we allow our children to inherit a nation that is less free than the one their parents grew up in?  That’s the question which presents itself to this Senate.”

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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