June 22, 2023

A year after Dobbs ruling, lawmakers reflect on impact

Source: Roll Call


Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — a ruling that overturned the national right to abortion. 

The decision has sparked a flurry of state legislative efforts, advocacy, litigation and a resurgence of decades-old abortion policies. It has also spurred federal pushes to set national rights to or limits on abortion.

Five women in the House and Senate spanning the political spectrum shared both how the ruling impacted them personally and professionally, and what they hope will happen next.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. 

Duckworth recalls the shock she felt when the decision dropped, despite knowing it was coming.

The combat veteran is especially worried about the effects on military women and families, in part due to ongoing efforts by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., to block Pentagon promotions because of the military's policy allowing servicemembers to travel to seek reproductive care.

“It's just astounding to me,” she said, adding women are assigned to duty stations and cannot easily leave to seek care without the policy.

The issue is especially personal because Duckworth did her flight training at Fort Novosel in Alabama, a state that now bans most abortions.

Duckworth, who in 2018 became the first sitting senator to give birth, has spoken publicly about using in vitro fertilization and noted it’s an aspect of reproductive health care that also needs attention.

Since the decision, she said she’s become more vocal about having a miscarriage at nine weeks and needing a procedure known as dilation and curettage to start a new round of IVF.

“We had to clear my uterus in order for me to start a new round of IVF. If I didn't have access to a D&C I couldn't have done that,” she said, recalling she has heard from increasing numbers of women in similar situations who now can’t access the procedure.

“I'm just even more determined now than I was a year ago,” she said.

By:  Sandhya Raman