(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of Senators led by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) in a letter to President Biden urging him to immediately issue an executive order directing the federal government to develop a national plan to defend Americans’ fundamental reproductive rights, including their right to an abortion.
The Senators wrote, “Americans across the nation and at every level of government must stand up against this unprecedented assault on women and their right to make decisions about their own bodies and lives. But as President of the United States, you have the unique power to marshal the resources of the entire federal government to respond.”
After decades of activism by Republican extremists, the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, reversing nearly 50 years of settled law and eviscerating the right to a legal abortion. Anti-abortion violence is on the rise, with assaults and threats of harm against abortion providers more than doubling between 2016 and 2020. Anti-abortion politicians have introduced nearly 550 abortion restrictions in 42 states and passed radical laws completely banning abortion and placing bounties on providers offering medical services. And if Roe v. Wade is gutted by this right-wing Supreme Court, Republican leaders have already signaled their next move: a nationwide ban on abortion in all 50 states.
In their letter, the Senators continued, “These proposals are only starting points in a federal apparatus that affects millions of Americans every day. The entirety of the federal government must be engaged in the Administration’s efforts and must act as swiftly as possible.”
President Biden has previously mobilized the full force of the federal government on behalf of several key Administration priorities such as racial justice, voting rights, and competition. In the letter, the Senators urge the President to act with equal boldness and urgency to protect the right to an abortion. In particular, the Senators suggest the following actions for the President’s consideration:
The Senators concluded, “We urge you to immediately issue an executive order instructing the leaders of every federal agency to submit their plans to protect the right to an abortion within 30 days. Americans across the country are at risk of losing their fundamental rights, including their constitutional right to abortion protected for generations. They deserve no less than a whole-of-government response.”
The letter is also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Text of the letter is available here.
Senators Shaheen and Hassan are unrelenting advocates for women’s reproductive rights. They recently held a press conference with the New Hampshire delegation and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to discuss what’s at stake for women’s freedoms and reproductive health in New Hampshire if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor to urge lawmakers to vote in favor of legislation that would codify Roe. For years, Shaheen has fought to expand coverage of women’s preventative care, including through her legislation to reduce the cost of contraception for servicewomen and dependents in military families. In March, Shaheen and Hassan joined HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in Manchester for a meeting with New Hampshire family planning providers amid continued attacks from State and congressional Republicans. Shaheen recently penned an op-ed for the Union Leader underscoring the threats to women’s freedoms and rights if Roe is overturned. It can be read in full here.