News Releases

Senator Murray made clear that President Trump’s decision to nominate Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court threatens the right to safe, legal abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade

Senator Murray: “Roe, and the rulings that have upheld it, make clear what women across the country know at their core to be true—that reproductive freedom is essential to a woman’s ability to control her future, plan her family, and contribute to her community…”

Senator Murray: “Let me say again that the threat to women’s reproductive rights is frighteningly real. It is real because unless Democrats and Republicans come together, President Trump will follow through on his promise to overturn Roe”

Senator Murray: “President Trump said that Roe is a 50-50 issue in the United States. He’s wrong. People in our country—Democrats, Republicans, women and men of all ages and backgrounds overwhelmingly understand that abortion is a deeply personal decision, one our laws should allow women to make, just as every American’s bodily autonomy should be their own concern and not their government’s” 

Senator Murray: “I urge anyone—woman or man—who is concerned right now to make that clear—loudly and immediately. If you have a story that shows why reproductive rights matter in our country, share it. If you haven’t signed up to vote—and told your friends to—do it”

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S SPEECH HERE*** 

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee and the highest ranking woman in the U.S. Senate, took to the Senate floor to outline her opposition to Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and raise the serious threat his nomination poses to women’s right to safe, legal abortion by detailing Judge Kavanaugh’s record of standing against women’s access to reproductive health care. Since President Trump announced D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to the Supreme Court on July 9th, Senator Murray has expressed her vocal opposition to his nomination, citing President Trump’s specific declarations to only appoint people to the Supreme Court who passed his extreme, ideological test on overturning Roe v. Wade, undermining women’s reproductive care, and more.

Senator Murray has pledged to do everything in her power to fight Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and in her floor remarks called on women and men throughout the country to take action and speak up about their opposition to Judge Kavanaugh. Senator Murray also shared the stories of women from before and after Roe v. Wade to illustrate the importance of the decision, and detailed how Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy and record align with President Trump’s stated goal of nominating judges committed to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“When I was in college, a friend of mine—we were very close and lived together in the dorms—went out on a date. She was raped and got pregnant. She didn’t know where to get a safe abortion—and she wasn’t wealthy, so she didn’t think she could afford it either. The botched procedure she ended up having left her, at a very young age, unable to bear children. I saw my friend hurt, frightened, alone, and unable to get the care she needed because someone else’s beliefs mattered more under our laws than her health and her future. That impacted me a lot, and has stayed with me to this day.”

“Roe, and the rulings that have upheld it, make clear what women across the country know at their core to be true—that reproductive freedom is essential to a woman’s ability to control her future, plan her family, and contribute to her community in all the ways she may choose to—as these three women were able to…reproductive freedom means women are more able to participate equally and fully in our country.”

“When I examine the record and history of a Supreme Court nominee, I hope to see a breadth of life experience, or the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes. Judge Kavanaugh has not demonstrated either of these qualities.”

“In expressing support for Justice Rehnquist’s dissent in Roe, where the Justice argued for allowing restrictions on women’s reproductive rights, Kavanaugh agreed with the idea that if a right is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, it must be ‘rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people.’ But he made clear he does not believe a woman’s right to choose is rooted in the traditions or the conscience of our people.”

“In one opinion, Judge Kavanaugh ruled to allow the Trump Administration to block a pregnant seventeen year old who arrived alone at our border from accessing an abortion until the government could place her with a sponsor. He felt that she needed a ‘support network’ around her before she was capable of making this decision, even though she had been seeking an abortion for months, and had already met state-level requirements.”

“…women matter too. And they deserve a Justice who accounts for their rights and liberties in his or her decisions. Unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions indicate he will not do so.” Instead, they display a fundamental lack of trust in women’s ability to make their own health care decisions.”

“If an employer tries to deny his employee affordable birth control because he thinks he knows better, or if a politicized federal agency is physically detaining a young woman in hopes it can impose its beliefs on her, or if a woman does not want to carry her rapist’s child to term, our nation’s laws must affirm her autonomy—because our laws are her place of last resort.”

“I urge anyone—woman or man—who is concerned right now to make that clear—loudly and immediately. If you have a story that shows why reproductive rights matter in our country, share it. If you haven’t signed up to vote—and told your friends to—do it…one year ago this week, three of my Republican colleagues stood with Democrats and stopped President Trump’s effort to enact Trumpcare…That happened because people across the country knew what was at stake and spoke up—despite how long the odds seemed.”

Watch video of Senator Murray’s remarks HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

“M. President, I want to start by sharing a story that is very personal to me, and that has informed my work and values ever since it happened.

“When I was in college, a friend of mine—we were very close and lived together in the dorms—went out on a date. She was raped and got pregnant. She didn’t know where to get a safe abortion—and she wasn’t wealthy, so she didn’t think she could afford it either. The botched procedure she ended up having left her, at a very young age, unable to bear children.

“I saw my friend hurt, frightened, alone, and unable to get the care she needed because someone else’s beliefs mattered more under our laws than her health and her future. That impacted me a lot, and has stayed with me to this day.

“Now let me tell you a few other stories.

“This is the story of a woman who I met just a few weeks ago. When she was 23, fresh out college, she became pregnant while living paycheck-to-paycheck in what she described as ‘an extremely unhealthy and volatile relationship.’ She and her partner realized they were not ready to be parents, and could not afford to raise a child. They drove to a Planned Parenthood a few miles from her apartment. There she was informed of her options, was treated with respect and kindness, and got a safe, legal abortion. Today she is a writer and editor, and the mother of an adorable little boy with another child on the way.

“Here is another story, M. President. This young woman became pregnant in her first semester of college after a contraceptive failure. Having a baby would not only have meant dropping out of college, but returning to an abusive home. She was grateful to be in New Jersey when this happened—where she could get an abortion without a waiting period and where there are a number of providers. She wrote that abortion access was ‘critical in allowing me to determine my life path’ and in escaping the abusive household she’d grown up in.

“Finally, M. President, the story of a partner at a major law firm, who is already the mother of a three-year old. She was thrilled to find out she was pregnant with another child. But headed into the sixth month of her pregnancy, she and her husband were told that because of a rare heart defect, there was in the best case scenario just a 10 percent chance of the pregnancy making it to term. There was a less than one percent chance of their baby making it to his first birthday—with no hope of a reasonable quality of life. Now—there is no one right answer when it comes to decisions like these. Some women—some families—choose one way, some another. But this woman and her husband made the decision to end the pregnancy. It was their family—their future—and her choice. She says she knows she did the right thing for her and her family, as difficult as it was—and a year later, she gave birth to a healthy son. She wrote, ‘I have shared my story with my children, and hope that should my daughter ever find herself in a position similar to mine, she will enjoy the same rights that were available to me.’

“M. President, there are decades between my college friend’s story and the three I’ve just told you—decades, and the historic ruling in Roe v. Wade that affirmed that our Constitution protects a woman’s right to control her own health care decisions.

“Roe, and the rulings that have upheld it, make clear what women across the country know at their core to be true—that reproductive freedom is essential to a woman’s ability to control her future, plan her family, and contribute to her community in all the ways she may choose to—as these three women were able to.

“M. President, reproductive freedom means women are more able to participate equally and fully in our country. And—while I can’t adequately express how frustrating it is to have to assert this in the 21st century—we are stronger today because women in the United States are treated more equally than we were in the 1970s.

“In fact, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen—the only woman to hold this position in the Reserve’s hundred-year history—has said that our country’s economic growth in the last half-century was in large part due to women joining the labor force, and that to continue the growth we’ve seen, we will need to do more to ensure more women have a level playing field in the workplace and our society as a whole. But the progress women have made—and the prospect of future progress—truly hangs in the balance now.

“Today I want to not only emphasize how real this threat is—but paint a picture of how much more unequal life would be for women in the United States of America, should Judge Kavanaugh be confirmed, add a fifth vote on the Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade, and roll back reproductive rights women have had for more than four decades.

“Let me say again that the threat to women’s reproductive rights is frighteningly real. It is real because unless Democrats and Republicans come together, President Trump will follow through on his promise to overturn Roe. On the campaign trail, Candidate Trump assured extreme, anti-choice special interest groups he would implement their agenda if elected.

“He established a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees and released a list of potential picks, each of whom had demonstrated opposition to a woman’s right to choose. He said that under his Presidency, Roe would be overturned ‘automatically’ once he had the chance to appoint justices, because they would all be pro-life. He said women should be punished for having abortions. He chose a Vice President, Mike Pence, whose views on women and women’s health are about as antiquated as smelling salts and far more damaging.

“M. President, candidate Trump aligned himself unequivocally with those who want to roll back women’s rights. And while President Trump has broken promise after promise to workers and families, he has never once wavered in following through for those anti-choice special interests.

“He has done virtually everything he can to chip away at women’s constitutionally protected reproductive rights from the Oval Office, whether it’s: proposing a domestic gag rule that would allow the government to interfere in provider-patient relationships, attempting time and time again to defund Planned Parenthood, or trying to allow virtually any employer to decide to exclude birth control coverage from their employer-sponsored coverage, and I could go on.

“So M. President, anyone who says President Trump isn’t applying an anti-choice litmus test in this nomination—or thinks it’s unclear where President Trump’s allegiance lies when it comes to women’s health—should take a look at what he’s said and done. Unless they willfully ignore the facts, they will quickly realize that the President who, far beyond any modern President, has championed the anti-choice cause has found exactly what he is looking for in Judge Kavanaugh: a fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“M. President, the best evidence that Judge Kavanaugh would overturn Roe is that extreme, anti-choice groups vetted his likelihood to do exactly that—and sent him straight to President Trump.

“But I do want to address a few aspects of Judge Kavanaugh’s records that, to me, expose how unqualified he is to make decisions that will impact women from all backgrounds, for generations to come. When I examine the record and history of a Supreme Court nominee, I hope to see a breadth of life experience, or the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes. Judge Kavanaugh has not demonstrated either of these qualities.

“In expressing support for Justice Rehnquist’s dissent in Roe, where the Justice argued for allowing restrictions on women’s reproductive rights, Kavanaugh agreed with the idea that if a right is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, it must be ‘rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people.’ But he made clear he does not believe a woman’s right to choose is rooted in the traditions or the conscience of our people.

“So M. President, I am deeply concerned about who Judge Kavanaugh thinks about, and trusts, when he imagines the traditions and conscience of our people and makes decisions accordingly. And his opinions from the bench only heighten my concern.

“In one opinion, Judge Kavanaugh ruled to allow the Trump Administration to block a pregnant seventeen year old who arrived alone at our border from accessing an abortion until the government could place her with a sponsor. He felt that she needed a ‘support network’ around her before she was capable of making this decision, even though she had been seeking an abortion for months, and had already met state-level requirements.

“In another opinion, he expressed the belief that if a woman’s employer doesn’t believe in birth control, that employer shouldn’t even have to fill out a one-page form to allow the woman to get birth control coverage directly from her insurer.

“M. President, the traditions and conscience Judge Kavanaugh referred to may be, in his mind, that of historically powerful, very wealthy white men—first in powdered wigs, and then in suits—who ever faced the challenges women in these cases face. But these women matter too. And they deserve a Justice who accounts for their rights and liberties in his or her decisions. Unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions indicate he will not do so. Instead, they display a fundamental lack of trust in women’s ability to make their own health care decisions.

“And they also show something more—a poor understanding of the unequal economic and social realities women continue to face in our country—despite the progress we’ve made—and the degree to which these differences make it all the more important that women be trusted and treated equally under the law, independently and in their own right.

“Because, M. President, if an employer tries to deny his employee affordable birth control because he thinks he knows better, or if a politicized federal agency is physically detaining a young woman in hopes it can impose its beliefs on her, or if a woman does not want to carry her rapist’s child to term, our nation’s laws must affirm her autonomy because our laws are her place of last resort.

“But under Judge Kavanaugh’s vision for our country—based on his assessment of our traditions and conscience—women would not have this last resort. Instead, a woman’s ability to get reproductive health care would overwhelmingly depend, like it did before Roe, on whether she could afford it, and therefore disproportionately on her race and zip code as well.

“Our country as a whole would see outcomes like we are already seeing in states like Texas and Mississippi, where abortion access is heavily restricted under policies Judge Kavanaugh has referenced approvingly. While women with resources have more options, women without resources see the providers where they got affordable contraception and health care close down because of anti-abortion politics. And reproductive health care, from sex education to birth control to abortion, becomes a privilege for the wealthy rather than the right of every woman regardless of who she is.

“M. President, that isn’t fair. It’s not right. And it truly isn’t what people in this country want.

“President Trump said that Roe is a 50-50 issue in the United States. He’s wrong. People in our country—Democrats, Republicans, women and men of all ages and backgrounds overwhelmingly understand that abortion is a deeply personal decision, one our laws should allow women to make, just as every American’s bodily autonomy should be their own concern and not their government’s.

“Despite what the White House would have us believe, this is not a country that wants to follow President Trump, Vice President Pence, and five male Supreme Court justices back to 1972.

“But the only way to stop this from happening is for people to take action. I urge anyone—woman or man—who is concerned right now to make that clear—loudly and immediately. If you have a story that shows why reproductive rights matter in our country, share it. If you haven’t signed up to vote—and told your friends to—do it.

“M. President, one year ago this week, three of my Republican colleagues stood with Democrats and stopped President Trump’s effort to enact Trumpcare, which would have gutted protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, ended Medicaid as we know it, and more. That happened because people across the country knew what was at stake and spoke up—despite how long the odds seemed.

“That is what we need now—and I am confident we can succeed again if people who care show it by speaking up.

“M. President, the last story I’ll tell is one I hope women and men today will be able to tell their daughters and granddaughters decades from now, should they ever need to hear it. It’s that our country went through an extremely frightening time—when one of many rights on the verge of being taken away was a woman’s right to choose. And we thought about them—our daughters and granddaughters—and how important it is that each one of them be treated equally under our country’s laws and have the opportunity to achieve the goals they set to out to achieve. So we did everything we could to fight back, and we didn’t let it happen on our watch. Let’s make that our story. 

“Thank you and I yield the floor.”