“This is by far the biggest threat to Roe v. Wade in almost three decades. I’m here today to sound the alarm and call on my colleagues to stand with me to protect the health of America’s women.”
“Three out of every four of us—including the vast majority of Nevadans—agree that the people who should be making decisions about pregnancies are women and their doctors.”
“[M]ake no mistake: as long as there are active efforts to eliminate the right to choose, whether in the courts or in Congress, the reproductive freedom of women everywhere is in jeopardy. We must do everything we can to protect a woman’s right to choose.”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today spoke in support of reproductive rights on the Senate floor as the Supreme Court heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a tireless advocate for reproductive rights in the U.S. Senate. Earlier this year, she raised the alarm about the danger the Dobbs case represents to Roe v. Wade and joined Congressional colleagues in filing a brief in the case urging the Supreme Court to uphold Roe. This fall she called on Congress to do more to protect women’s health care by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation she cosponsored to guarantee equal access to abortion everywhere. She was a vocal opponent of the Trump administration’s efforts to limit access to family planning and reproductive health care and worked to block federal court nominees who would roll back women’s health care and reproductive freedoms.
Below are her remarks as delivered:
M. President, this morning the Supreme Court heard arguments about whether it is constitutional for Mississippi to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
This is by far the biggest threat to Roe v. Wade in almost three decades. I’m here today to sound the alarm and call on my colleagues to stand with me to protect the health of America’s women.
There is every reason to think that extreme justices on the Supreme Court are poised to either overturn Roe or fatally undermine it.
If the Supreme Court gets rid of Roe—which has been the law of the land for five decades—each individual state will decide whether to let women control their own bodies and their own lives.
Without Roe, abortion will immediately be illegal in about 12 states, and more than a dozen others will likely put severe abortion restrictions in place.
It’s even possible that a future Republican Congress would try to restrict abortion nationally.
You know, reproductive rights have been protected for so long in the United States that it’s been easy for us to forget what happens when we don’t safeguard them.
But when women cannot control what reproductive care they receive, their health suffers—their physical, emotional, and economic health, and the health and welfare of their entire families.
We can see that right now in Texas, where a new law creates incentives for vigilantes to pry into their neighbors’ lives by letting anyone sue those who “aid and abet” abortions—and get a $10,000 reward.
Texas doctors have reported that they are afraid to give essential medical advice to women at risk of life-threatening complications in their pregnancies. One woman in Texas was even refused care for her ectopic pregnancy, which cannot be carried to term and must be terminated to save the patient’s life.
Women seek access to reproductive care for all kinds of reasons—reasons that are personal and intimate and sometimes heartbreaking.
And Americans understand this. They get it. Three out of every four of us—including the vast majority of Nevadans—agree that the people who should be making decisions about pregnancies are women and their doctors.
It’s unthinkable to me, then, that the Court is on the verge of taking that decision away from women and medical professionals and giving it to politicians instead.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, nearly half of women nationwide will see the nearest clinic close. The average distance to the nearest reproductive health care clinic will go up by more than ten times, from 25 miles to 279 miles.
If you’ve ever worked for minimum wage, you know that taking days to travel across state lines for health care is a luxury that many Americans can’t afford. That’s reality for many low-income women, including women of color.
We have to stop treating women’s health care as optional.
In Nevada . . . we’ve worked hard to protect reproductive health. In the 1990s, we passed a ballot initiative to enshrine choice into law. And more recently, we’ve done away with the kind of restrictions on abortion that are popping up in state after state.
But make no mistake: as long as there are active efforts to eliminate the right to choose, whether in the courts or in Congress, the reproductive freedom of women everywhere is in jeopardy.
We must do everything we can to protect a woman’s right to choose.
That’s why it is so vital that Congress pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.
This bill would outlaw bans and other medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion across the country. It would mean that states . . . could not impose medically unnecessary ultrasounds, excessive waiting periods, and other extreme burdens on health care providers intended to limit abortion access.
It would guarantee women control over their reproductive decisions, in consultation with medical professionals.
That’s what three quarters of us think is right. I will continue doing everything I can in the Senate to protect women in Nevada and across the country, and I would hope, Madam President, that our colleagues would join us. Thank you.