Cantwell Stands Up for the Right to Choose in Speech on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor in response to the U.S Supreme Court starting oral arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case directly challenges Roe v. Wade and threatens to roll back decades of abortion-right precedent.

“Women across the country for 50 years have come to rely on these constitutional protections to make decisions for themselves, about their reproduction, their families, and their bodies… Roe is based on our privacy protections in the Constitution. The justices wisely understood that, that a woman's right to choose was about privacy, a personal issue, a medical choice, one in which the state had very limited roles subject to the highest standards and scrutiny of the court,” said Senator Cantwell during the speech.

She went on to describe the case being heard by the Supreme Court: “In 2018, Mississippi enacted a state law which banned abortion after 15 weeks. Notably, there's no exception for rape or incest, and no exception for the health of the mother. They say that is their government's choice. Well, I asked them, where is the right of the mother and the individual? Where's the right for that family to ask about the life of the mother?

“…Because of Roe and Casey, abortions are safe and are available. Women are in control of their bodies, families can plan. These are important issues for every woman in America. These are their choices. This decision, a very difficult decision can be theirs and theirs alone. And that is why it is a matter of choice.”

In September, Cantwell joined 47 Democrats in the Senate and 188 in the House in filing a bicameral amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, urging the Supreme Court to uphold the nearly 50 years of precedent in Roe v. Wade and protect the constitutional right to abortion care.

Senator Cantwell is a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) that was introduced in June. WHPA guarantees a pregnant person’s right to access an abortion—and the right of an abortion provider to deliver these abortion services—free from medically unnecessary restrictions that interfere with a patient’s individual choice or the provider-patient relationship.

Video of Senator Cantwell’s floor remarks is available HERE, audio is available HERE, and a full transcript is available HERE.

The bicameral amicus brief on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization can be found HERE.

The text of the Women’s Health Protection Act is available HERE.