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To mark anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Gillibrand goes to Senate floor to stand up for women’s health

January 26, 2017 From U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spoke on the Senate floor on Tuesday to mark the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision affirming that women have a constitutional right to make their own healthcare decisions. Gillibrand called on her colleagues to protect women’s access to life-saving health care provided under the Affordable Care Act and urged the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade.

 

Below are Sen. Gillibrand’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. President, this past Sunday was the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and I want to take a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come since that Supreme Court decision.

“Because of Roe v. Wade, American women for the last 44 years have the right, the freedom, the privacy, to make their own decisions about their own bodies, with their doctors, with their families — without the federal government barging its way into the conversation and telling them what they can or can’t do with their own bodies.

Roe v. Wade was one of the most important Supreme Court decisions in the history of women’s rights in this nation. But it was only a start.

“In the 44 years since, we have made so much progress with women’s health. And much of that progress has to do with what we accomplished in the Affordable Care Act.

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“Millions of American women now have access to health care coverage that used to be extremely difficult and expensive for a lot of women to get. 

“Millions of American women now have access to affordable preventive health care services, including contraception, birth control, STD screenings, mammograms, breastfeeding support and supplies and cervical cancer screenings.

“And since the Affordable Care Act was passed, the number of abortions has gone down, in part because more women have access to affordable contraception.

“There is no doubt that American women have better access to safe and affordable health care because of Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act. 

“But some of my colleagues are committed to turning back the clock on women’s health and taking away women’s access to this life-saving care.

 “They are doing everything in their power to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, and they are determined to see Roe v. Wade get overturned.

 “And one of President Trump’s first executive orders was so extreme that it would take away funding for any international organizations who even talk about whether a woman might want to terminate a pregnancy.

 “We should never let this happen. If we take away women’s access to the health care they need, it would be devastating — even life-threatening — for millions of American women.

“This weekend, a massive group of women and men and children joined together in women’s marches across the globe.

“They were there to speak out, to be heard, to protest some of these issues that would deeply affect American families and women in particular.

“I was so proud to march with them. I was inspired by them — their passion, their determination, their commitment to never give up.

“The women’s marches were truly the biggest outpouring of support and activism I’ve seen in my lifetime, and certainly that we’ve seen in this generation.

“They were loud and clear statements that we will not let the government dictate to us how we should manage these most personal decisions — when you’re going to have a family, how big your family’s going to be. Those are decisions that are made by husbands and wives, by spouses all across this country, about what their family is going to look like. 

“Mr. President, I urge all of my colleagues in this chamber to listen to the millions of Americans — the millions of women — who would like to make those decisions themselves, who would like to choose their health care, who would not like to be charged more just because they’re women, who would not like to see their health care coverage dropped the minute they become pregnant, who would not like to be told, ‘You have a pre-existing condition and we will not cover you.’

“That is what we go back to. We have to fight for the Affordable Care Act, and we have to make sure the Supreme Court does not overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Listen to your constituents. These marches weren’t just in New York. They were in every state across the country.

“These marches were real, they were powerful and they were determined. And these men and women want to be heard. Members of Congress, I hope you are listening to them. That is our job: to represent our country. Their voices must be heard. We shall not ignore them.”

 

—    Information from Sen. Gillibrand’s office

 

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