February 20, 2020

Shaheen and Hassan Condemn Republican Efforts in Concord and Washington to Rescind Women’s Reproductive Rights

Hassan: “Women in New Hampshire and across the country deserve respect and dignity. They deserve the chance to thrive, and they deserve equality in every way, including by making their own health care choices.”

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) issued the following statements in response to Republican efforts, both at the state level in New Hampshire and in Congress, to pass dangerous legislation that would infringe on women’s constitutional rights and compromise their reproductive health care.

 

The Senators’ statements come in response to a nationwide campaign by state and congressional Republicans to push forward extreme anti-choice bills that would in some cases criminalize abortions and put doctors in jail. These efforts that infringe on women’s constitutionally-protected rights are part of a broader campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade.

 

“These bills are part of a decades-long effort to chip away at women’s reproductive rights and eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. The question I have for Republicans is, why vote on these bills—some multiple times—but refuse to support better prenatal and maternal care for women? If their concern was really about the health of mothers and children, we’d be focused on these priorities, rather than on legislation that attempts to demonize women’s rights and imprison doctors,” said Senator Shaheen. “These bills have nothing to do with infanticide, which is already illegal. Further, abortions performed later in pregnancy are most often the result of severe fetal diagnoses and the serious risks that pregnancy poses to the life of the mother. Women’s health care decisions should be made with their families and doctors, not by Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell or New Hampshire Republican leaders. I’ll always fight for women’s health and will never stop defending women’s constitutional rights.”

 

“Women are equal members of society who are more than capable of making their own reproductive, health, and life decisions — and they don’t need President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, or anyone else to make complex and difficult decisions for them,” said Senator Hassan. “Instead of taking up legislation to bring down health care costs or protect maternal and infant health, Senator McConnell and his allies in state government are trying to chip away at women’s constitutional right to make their own health care decisions. From coming between a woman and her doctor by trying to eliminate abortion access or working to overturn the Affordable Care Act’s protections for pre-existing conditions, which can even include pregnancy, these Republican politicians are trying to pull us backward. And I want to send a clear message to them: Women in New Hampshire and across the country deserve respect and dignity. They deserve the chance to thrive, and they deserve equality in every way, including by making their own health care choices.” 

 

One bill that will be debated next week has already been rejected by the Senate last year. This bill, the so-called Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would subject doctors to prison time for failing to follow ambiguous standards in abortion cases that are often medical emergencies. Contrary to claims by proponents of this bill, infanticide is already illegal under federal law, and this legislation would do nothing but add medical uncertainty into the laws that are already on the books that outlaw infanticide. The second bill, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would create a nationwide prohibition on abortions for cases where the woman has been pregnant for 20 weeks or more, and would put doctors in prison for violating the legislation’s ban on abortions. Federal courts have already blocked similar state laws that would impose bans on abortions after 20 weeks, on the grounds that those state laws violate a woman’s constitutionally-protected right to an abortion. The Senate bill considered next week would double down on this strategy that has already been deemed unconstitutional.

 

Senator Shaheen is a dedicated advocate for women’s reproductive rights. Shaheen continues to lead efforts to repeal the Global Gag Rule, which bans critical federal aid for non-governmental groups that provide the full scope of family planning and maternal health services abroad. Senator Shaheen has been fighting for years to increase coverage of women’s preventative care in the annual defense authorization bill. Shaheen reintroduced the EACH Woman Act last year with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), which would guarantee every woman, regardless of location, income, or race, has access to the full scope of reproductive health care.

 

Senator Hassan will continue to fight against any efforts to chip away at the rights afforded under Roe v. Wade. Senator Hassan has led efforts in the Senate to protect Title X family planning centers, such as Planned Parenthood, which provide family planning services for low-income patients and serve nearly 18,000 Granite Staters annually. The Senator also strongly opposes the implementation of the domestic gag rule, a Trump Administration policy that is restricting women’s access to critical health services at Title X funded centers across the country. Last year, Senator Hassan joined in introducing the Affordability is Access Act, legislation to make sure over-the-counter birth control is affordable and accessible for women across the country.

 

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