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Senator Murray Discusses Need to Protect Abortion Rights Ahead of Roe v. Wade Anniversary With Spokane Providers, Patients, and Advocates

Senator Murray: “I want to be absolutely clear: I am doing everything—every way that I can—to protect reproductive rights in this country”

***WATCH VIDEO OF THE EVENT HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the chair of the Senate health committee, held a virtual roundtable to hear directly from patients and providers in Spokane on the importance of Roe v. Wade, and the urgent need to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) in order to protect the right to abortion at the federal level. Senator Murray was joined by Dr. Denise Bayuszik, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, Lili Navarrete, Director of Planned Parenthood’s Raiz program, and Emily Marvin, a local patient.

“While, thankfully, Washington state has protected the right to abortion, across the border in Idaho Republican state lawmakers have already said they’ll pursue a law similar to the one on the books in Texas. And this summer, the threat is real that the Supreme Court could erase nearly 50 years of precedent, overturn Roe, and end the constitutional right to abortion,” said Senator Murray. “So this is not a drill: abortion access is being dismantled before our very eyes.”

“I am fighting hard to protect the right to abortion at the federal level, by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. This bill will safeguard Roe and help make its promises a reality for everyone—no matter their zip code—by ensuring the constitutional right to abortion isn’t undermined by local abortion bans and restrictions,” Senator Murray continued. “I want to be absolutely clear: I am doing everything—every way that I can—to protect reproductive rights in this country.”

During the roundtable, Senator Murray discussed the current attacks on Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion in the courts, particularly the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this year following Republicans naming three justices to the Court on narrow margins in the past 5 years. Senator Murray also highlighted WHPA, which she helped introduce in June 2021 to safeguard Roe and ensure the constitutional right to abortion isn’t undermined by local abortion bans and restrictions.Dr. Bayuszik, Lili Navarrete, Emily Marvin highlighted the importance of protections on reproductive care, and the need to codify them into law, as well as the dire consequences that any move to overturn Roe v. Wade would have for patients across the entire Pacific Northwest.  

“As we recognize the anniversary of Roe V Wade, we must be clear that access to abortion is at risk like never before. For us, in Spokane and across our affiliate, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe versus Wade, we anticipate the number of out-of-state patients to dramatically increase. Right now, 43% of abortion appointments at our Spokane Valley clinic are for Idaho patients. In Idaho and many other states, abortion is already inaccessible for many,” said Dr. Denise Bayuszik, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho.

“The pandemic has made existing health disparities even worse, and it has decreased access to basic reproductive health care while also increasing uncertainty as people plan for their futures. For example, about a third of women have experienced delays or cancellations of needed reproductive care during the pandemic, and that number jumps to 38% for Black women and 45% for Hispanic women. Protecting access to abortion has never been more critical than right now,” said Lili Navarrete, Director of Planned Parenthood’s Raiz program.

“Patients like me are waiting to hear if the Supreme Court will dismantle our right to abortion. But the reality is that Congress can act now to protect abortion rights in our country, and that’s by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Many people have been forced to travel up to hundreds or thousands of miles to other states to access abortion, in addition to taking time off work, finding child care, and still facing harmful restrictions. The Women’s Health Protection Act would help to protect patients against these attacks,” said Emily Marvin, a local patient.

Senator Murray has been a leading voice in the fight to protect reproductive and abortion rights and spoken out against Republicans’ efforts to restrict patients’ control over their bodies, lives, and futures. Since the Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Senator Murray has vowed to fight back and protect Roe v. Wade, including by passing WHPA. Following the passage of WHPA in the House, Senator Murray announced that the Senate would vote on the bill as well.

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