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In Senate floor speech, Senator Murray strongly denounced proposed ban on abortion after 20 weeks that would restrict women’s rights and doctors’ ability to give sound medical opinion 

Senator Murray shared a story from a Seattle mother to highlight the cruelty of the proposed ban

Senator Murray: Brazenly unconstitutional ban a harmful attempt to “turn back the clock” on women’s reproductive health care and “put women’s lives at risk”

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, denounced an extreme, unconstitutional Republican proposal that would control women’s health care decisions by banning abortions after 20 weeks. During a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Murray criticized the cruelty of the unconstitutional bill which would undermine women’s access to reproductive care and criminalize doctors’ ability to provide sound medical opinions.

A vocal champion of women’s reproductive rights, Senator Murray has long supported policies that empower women to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive care—as opposed to politicians in Washington, D.C. After sharing one Seattle mother’s personal story highlighting the damage this bill represents for women and families, Senator Murray demanded Republicans drop their harmful attempts to turn back the clock on women’s rights and join in a bipartisan effort to solve the problems facing the nation today, including renewing full funding for community and teaching health centers, finding a permanent solution to protect DREAMers and other young people who came to the United States as children and have only known America as their home, and more.

Key excerpts of Senator Murray’s floor speech:

“Today, in communities across the country, young people are asking whether they’ll be able to stay in the only country they’ve ever called home. Struggling patients—even veterans—are wondering whether their local community health center will be able to stay open and provide care they can’t otherwise afford. Workers and business owners are wondering—again—whether the government will be open in a few weeks….instead of addressing the serious and pressing challenges that people are facing—Republican leaders are debating whether to trust women to make their own health care choices.”

“Just look at the story from a Washington state mother, Judy Nicastro. A few years ago, in an op-ed for the New York Times she courageously shared a story that is every expecting mother’s worst nightmare…I’m grateful that her doctors were able to give her sound medical advice. I’m grateful that she and her husband were able to make the decision they felt was best for their family. And I’m so grateful to Judy for sharing her story which represents the incredibly painful decision she and so many other women have faced.”

“In 2015, the Republican leader stated quite flatly that a vote to defund Planned Parenthood would be an ‘exercise in futility’—because there was no way it was going to pass. The same is true of this extreme, harmful legislation. And yet here we are. Bringing this bill to the floor is an exercise in futility. And passing it would be an exercise in cruelty.”

Watch video of Senator Murray’s speech available HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s speech below:

“Thank you, M. President.

“Today, in communities across the country, young people are asking whether they’ll be able to stay in the only country they’ve ever called home. Struggling patients—even veterans—are wondering whether their local community health center will be able to stay open and provide care they can’t otherwise afford. Workers and business owners are wondering—again—whether the government will be open in a few weeks.

“But, M. President—instead of addressing the serious and pressing challenges that people are facing—Republican leaders are debating whether to trust women to make their own health care choices. That’s right. While the country is waiting for us to come together and solve problems, Republicans are wasting precious time with a politically-motivated, partisan bill engineered to drive us apart—and hurt women.

“I come here today to oppose, in the strongest terms, the extreme, ideological abortion ban Republican leaders have brought to the floor. It goes against the Constitution, against medical experts, and against the rights of women across the country.

“However I don’t merely oppose this partisan bill, I oppose the very fact that Republicans are once again taking this bill—which they know is a nonstarter— to the floor. I oppose the very idea that in the 21st Century, we are going to waste time on a question that has already been answered and shouldn't be up for debate. I oppose the fact that we are still voting on whether women and doctors are best equipped to make health care decisions—or politicians here in DC. We are still voting on whether we should criminalize doctors for making sound medical decisions. We are still voting on whether we should turn back the clock and put women’s lives at risk.

“Roe v. Wade was decided 45 years ago. We celebrated the anniversary of that historic decision last week. I’d like to think that after almost half a century we could move on from debating this settled issue. And yet here we are.

“In 2015, the Republican leader stated quite flatly that a vote to defund Planned Parenthood would be an ‘exercise in futility’—because there was no way it was going to pass. The same is true of this extreme, harmful legislation. And yet here we are. Bringing this bill to the floor is an exercise in futility. And passing it would be an exercise in cruelty.

“Just look at the story from a Washington state mother, Judy Nicastro. A few years ago, in an op-ed for the New York Times she courageously shared a story that is every expecting mother’s worst nightmare. Judy shared her experience learning that one of the twins she was carrying had a lung condition. One lung chamber hadn’t formed at all, the other was only 20 percent complete.

“‘My world stopped’ – she wrote. ‘I loved being pregnant with twins…The thought of losing one child was unbearable.’

“She went on to say – ‘The M.R.I., at Seattle Children’s Hospital, confirmed our fears: the organs were pushed up into our boy’s chest and not developing properly. We were in the 22nd week.’

“I’m grateful that her doctors were able to give her sound medical advice. I’m grateful that she and her husband were able to make the decision they felt was best for their family. And I’m so grateful to Judy for sharing her story which represents the incredibly painful decision she and so many other women have faced.

“Now my colleagues may recognize this story, as I’ve shared it before. Just as Republicans have introduced this deeply harmful legislation before.  I hope this time Republicans listen. I hope they will stop trying to pretend that they are in any way qualified to interfere with decisions that a woman has the Constitutional right to make on her own. I hope they will stop trying to criminalize a doctor’s ability to provide sound medical advice, and protect the lives of patients. I hope they will stop wasting our time with bills that are extremely out of date, extremely out of touch,  and obviously un-Constitutional.

“But if Republicans won’t stop this exercise in futility and their attacks on women’s rights, they should know I will not stop standing up and making clear exactly why they are wrong. They should know I will keep fighting for Judy and so many other women and their families. And I will keep urging them to work with Democrats on the serious challenges our nation faces—none of which, by the way, have to do with trusting women or controlling their health care choices.

“I want to thank the many Democrats who are joining me on the floor to stand up for women and deliver this same message to our Republican colleagues. Again, I hope they listen—because Democrats would like to get to work.”