January 29, 2018

Following Vote Against Backward Anti-Choice Bill, Senator Hassan Speaks on Senate Floor about Importance of Protecting a Woman’s Right to Choose

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Click here to watch the Senator’s floor speech. 

WASHINGTON – After voting against a backward, partisan bill that would roll back access to care and undermine the health of women, Senator Maggie Hassan spoke today on the Senate floor about the critical importance of protecting a woman’s constitutional right to make her own reproductive health decisions and control her own destiny.

Key Points:

  • Here we are once again, with Republican leadership bringing a bill to the floor that attempts to marginalize women and take away their rights to make their own decisions. This bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks – an extremely rare procedure that is often the result of complex and difficult medical circumstances.   
  • We are at a moment in our country when women are speaking out and fighting for basic dignity and respect at home, in the workplace, and in their daily lives. They also deserve that respect with regard to the most deeply personal health decisions they can make.
  • Rather than marginalizing women, we should be doing everything we can to include them in the bipartisan work we need to do on priorities to move our nation forward. Divisive and partisan bills like this one undermine women and undermines our strength as a country.

Click here for video or see below for Senator Hassan’s delivered remarks:

Mr. President, I rise today to oppose dangerous legislation that would endanger the health of women by limiting their constitutional right to access a safe and legal abortion.

Mr. President, we must recognize the capacity of every woman in our nation to make her own health care decisions and control her own destiny, and ensure that all women have the full independence to do so.

Unfortunately, throughout the last year, the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress have repeatedly tried to roll back access to care and undermine the health of women.

We’ve seen bill after bill targeting women’s health care by restricting access to abortion, increasing the costs of maternity care, and allowing insurers to treat giving birth as a pre-existing condition.

The Trump Administration issued interim final rules allowing employers to deny women access to the birth control coverage that they need.

My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have confirmed Trump administration officials and judges to the bench who are vehemently opposed to a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions.

And Republicans have been relentless in their attempts to defund Planned Parenthood – which is an essential source of care for women in New Hampshire – and provides key services like birth control and cancer screenings.

Mr. President, here we are once again, with Republican leadership bringing a bill to the floor that attempts to marginalize women and take away their rights to make their own decisions.  

This bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks – an extremely rare procedure that is often the result of complex and difficult medical circumstances.

The bill lacks adequate exceptions for survivors of rape or incest, and it gets in the way of a woman and the judgement of her doctor, threatening to jail physicians for providing patients the care that they need.

In fact, a group of medical and public health organizations has written to Congress, saying: “This bill places health care providers in an untenable situation – when they are facing a complex, urgent medical situation, they must think about an unjust law instead of about how to protect the health and safety of their patients.”

And Mr. President, this bill is a direct challenge to the precedent set in Roe v. Wade.

Mr. President – we are at a moment in our country when women are speaking out and fighting for basic dignity and respect at home, in the workplace, and in their daily lives. They also deserve that respect with regard to the most deeply personal health decisions they can make.

Passing this legislation would send a message to women across the country that politicians in Washington do not believe that women have the capacity to make their own health care decisions, as if women don’t understand – or are unable to grapple with – the physical, emotional, economic, and spiritual issues that are involved in deciding when or if to have a family or how to handle critical health challenges.

Mr. President, rather than marginalizing women, we should be doing everything we can to include them in the bipartisan work we need to do on priorities to move our nation forward. Divisive and partisan bills like this one undermine women and undermines our strength as a country.

I was proud to join many of my colleagues in voting against this bill, and I am glad that is has failed in the Senate today.

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

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