“Mainstream Americans” Support Abortion Rights, Cantwell Says on Senate Floor

Cantwell to Senate Republicans: “I would listen and pass this legislation tomorrow.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) delivered a speech calling on the U.S. Senate to defend reproductive health care freedom and rebuke Republicans’ extremist, draconian push to drag abortion access “back into the Dark Ages.”

She delivered her remarks one day before a scheduled vote on the Women's Health Protection Act, which would codify abortion access into federal law. Senator Cantwell and her colleagues revived the bill so every American can see where their Senator stands on protecting the right to choose after a leaked draft majority opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization signaled that the Supreme Court of the United States will soon overturn Roe v. Wade.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Cantwell pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want to see Roe overturned.

“Seventy percent of Americans are in agreement,” Senator Cantwell said. “Anybody who thinks this isn’t about settled law or about mainstream views in America is wrong. It’s about almost 50 years of settled law it’s about what mainstream Americans believe are their Constitutional rights.”

“It's been the fight of the other side of the aisle all along to try to say they are going to control women's bodies and women's health care choices,” she added.

“We’re not going to get rid of abortions ... They will happen — it will go back to any back-alley approach,” Senator Cantwell continued. “I ask my colleagues: What are you thinking when you are advocating for a return to pre-Roe? What, exactly, do you think is going to happen in the United States of America? I can tell you: You’re going to leave women without the ability to control their own bodies, without the ability for them and their doctor to make decisions.”

“Do you believe the rights of privacy exist within the Constitution? Or are you like the Supreme Court you don’t believe in the decisions of previous Supreme Court Justices?” Senator Cantwell asked.

“If they didn’t believe in these rights of privacy, they should have told everybody clearly,” she said.

“I would listen and pass this legislation tomorrow. Because I guarantee you, if it's not just this privacy right, why are you going to trust them on any other privacy decision in the future if they're not going to be fighting to uphold your privacy rights on women's reproductive health?” Senator Cantwell concluded.

Last week, Senator Cantwell warned against the “brain drain” for federal agencies located in states poised to restrict access to abortion. Banning essential reproductive health care services would be “ludicrous” for employers and workers, she said in remarks delivered at the press conference, linked HERE.

The day after the SCOTUS draft ruling was leaked, Senator Cantwell joined Democratic colleagues on the steps of the Senate and pledged to fight for the Constitutional right to privacy in a statement linked HERE.

In December 2021, Senator Cantwell spoke on the Senate floor in response to the U.S. Supreme Court starting oral arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which could roll back decades of precedent upholding the right to reproductive health care.

In September, she 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.

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