On Saturday, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of Senators led by Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, in a letter to President Joe Biden urging additional action to protect the right to abortion after the conservative wing of the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Republicans made this generation of women the first with fewer rights than their mothers.
“We appreciate that in your speech yesterday, you acknowledged the reality that the ‘health and life of women across this nation are now at risk.’ Now is the time for bold action to protect the right to an abortion. You have the power to fight back and lead a national response to this devastating decision, so we call on you to take every step available to your Administration, across federal agencies, to help women access abortions and other reproductive health care, and to protect those who will face the harshest burdens from this devastating and extreme decision,” wrote the Senators.
The letter comes as 22 states have laws in place to ban or severely restrict access that are triggered by the courts’ decision—with seven statewide abortion bans already in effect as of yesterday. Meanwhile, Republicans have made clear they will not stop with overturning Roe: next, they will push for a national abortion ban. Former Vice President Mike Pence even said that Republicans “must not rest and must not relent” until abortion rights are gone in “every state in the land.”
“There is no time to waste: nearly half of the states already had laws in place to ban abortion or severely restrict access as soon as the Supreme Court decision came down. Many states enacted those laws immediately, and at least a dozen are set to follow suit in the coming days and weeks. Those laws will leave millions of Americans without access to essential reproductive health care. The chilling reality is that our daughters and granddaughters now have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers. Women across the country are now being told by states what choices they can and cannot make when it comes to their own health and reproductive choices. This is dangerous and horrifying and it will endanger women’s lives,” continued the Senators. “We cannot stand idly by as Republicans rip away women’s rights. And we know they will not stop with this decision—they are already eyeing a national abortion ban.”
In addition to Senators Shaheen, Hassan and Murray, the letter was signed by Senators Markey (D-MA), Wyden (D-OR), Merkley (D-OR), Hirono (D-HI), Heinrich (D-NM), Gillibrand (D-NY), Blumenthal (D-CT), Rosen (D-NV), Duckworth (D-IL), Bennet (D-CO), Brown (D-OH), Warren (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Schatz (D-HI), Van Hollen (D-MD), Reed (D-RI), Smith (D-MN), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Murphy (D-CT), Carper (D-DE), Stabenow (D-MI), Kelly (D-AZ), Feinstein (D-CA), Hickenlooper (D-CO), Kaine (D-VA), Cantwell (D-WA), Sanders (I-VT), Booker (D-NJ), Whitehouse (D-RI), Baldwin (D-WI) and Durbin (D-IL).
The letter is available here.
Senators Shaheen and Hassan are unrelenting advocates for women’s reproductive rights. They’ve long sounded the alarm about what’s at stake for women’s freedoms and reproductive health in New Hampshire if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor to urge lawmakers to vote in favor of legislation that would have codified 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 February, Senator Hassan led 33 Senators in calling on the Biden administration to improve enforcement of the federal law that guarantees complete coverage of birth control for women who get their health insurance through the ACA or their employer. 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.