Senator calls for abortion rights

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand is pushing for a path to protect access to abortion for as many people as possible in light of a draft opinion that suggests the Supreme Court is poised to strike down national abortion rights.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Sen. Gillibrand said the possibility that abortion could lose its status as a federally recognized right could have dire consequences for people who can get pregnant in the U.S.

“As many as 28 states could ban abortion, outright eliminating the ability for people to make decisions about their own bodies,” she said. “If you can’t afford to travel to receive abortion care in another state, you could be forced to face unsafe options from an unsupervised abortion to a dangerous, unwanted pregnancy.”

Sen. Gillibrand said the opinion, if formalized and put into law, indicates that the nation’s judicial system is out of touch and no longer recognizes science or equal justice under the law.

The senator has called for an investigation into the Senate confirmation hearings for justices Amy C. Barrett, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Neil M. Gorsuch, accusing the three of lying about their position on Roe v. Wade, the 49-year-old Supreme Court decision that declares access to abortion a recognized right.

She said the House of Representatives should lead an investigation and provide public results. She said it would then be appropriate to consider potential measures to correct issues with the Supreme Court, like adding more justices.

“As the American people know the facts, then maybe we can have a debate about ways to de-politicize the court,” she said. “Hopefully there’s several to consider, but I am open to hearing all of them.”

She voted to support the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill considered by the Senate on Wednesday that would codify into law the abortion protections recognized under the Roe v. Wade decision. If passed, it would allow mothers nationwide to access abortions up to 24 weeks, and after that point in the case of emergency, fetal inviability, incest or rape.

The bill failed on Wednesday afternoon, with all Republican senators and Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., voting against the bill.

Before the vote, Sen. Gillibrand acknowledged that the bill was unlikely to pass the closely divided Senate’s 60-vote threshold to break the filibuster.

“That means we have to fight as hard as we possibly can to protect the right to an abortion by other means,” she said. “First and foremost, that means winning elections.”

Sen. Gillibrand called on Democratic voters nationwide to vote in November and elect abortion rights candidates to office at the local, state and national levels.

She then said it is necessary to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a piece of legislation that bars the federal government from providing funding to be used for abortion services. Sen. Gillibrand said that legislation keeps low-income people from accessing care and must be rescinded.

“Third, we need to make states like New York safe havens,” she said. “I am very encouraged by proposed bills in the New York State Legislature that would support out-of-state residents, require New York insurers to cover them and bar law enforcement agencies from cooperating with out-of-state investigations related to the provision of otherwise lawful health care services.”

Sen. Gillibrand cautioned that the right to an abortion is only one part of this issue, and while the end of federal abortion rights is the most pressing possibility at this moment, there could be other federally recognized rights on the chopping block soon.

“When you say there’s no right to privacy, which is what (Justice Samuel) Alito says, then it could absolutely take away right to decide whether you’re going to have birth control, it could absolutely take away the right to decide about marriage equality and just plain old discrimination,” she said.

She referenced a recent statement from the Republican governor of Mississippi, Jonathon “Tate” Reeves, who said on Sunday that he would not rule out banning contraception in his state.

“This is a defining moment for women and girls,” Sen. Gillibrand said. “If the American people don’t stand up and fight, the lives of mothers and daughters, sisters, wives and friends could quite literally hang in the balance.”

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I write about north country politics, Jefferson County and the northern shoreline towns of Lyme, Cape Vincent, Clayton and Alexandria Bay

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(1) comment


Nothing like supporting taxpayer funded on demand abortion fir out of state residents. Ludicrous.

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