May 10, 2022

Duckworth makes impassioned plea for abortion bill: D.C. Memo

Source: Crain's Chicago Business


Roe remains at center stage today: U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., took to the Senate floor Tuesday to throw her support—in unusually personal terms—behind a pending bill that would enshrine access to abortion as a federal right.

Duckworth said the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade “gave me my chance to be a mom. . . .I was only able to get pregnant through (in vitro fertilization), a fertility process that Roe lays the foundation for.”

Duckworth spoke in favor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify abortion rights into federal law and is scheduled for a vote today in the wake of last week’s leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overrule Roe and leave the question to the states. There is uncertainty about whether the measure will even get a majority of the evenly divided Senate, much less the 60 votes needed to advance. But that did not stop Duckworth or her Democratic colleague from Illinois, Sen. Richard Durbin, from pulling out the rhetorical stops.

Duckworth said abortion opponents want to undermine access to contraception and that bills have been introduced in some states to criminalize in-vitro fertilization. And she referred to a case in Oklahoma in which she said a woman was convicted of manslaughter for having a miscarriage.

“I've had a miscarriage,” Duckworth said, “and there are no words to describe what mothers feel in that moment. For me, I was overcome with the rawest, most painful emotion I’d ever experienced. In that moment, losing my baby felt more searing than anything I'd ever felt in my entire life. Yet, if the G.O.P. had its way, women may now have to live in fear that that worst moment of their lives may also send them to prison.”

In the past, Duckworth said, “those of us with uteruses were treated as second-class citizens. And I didn't learn to fly Blackhawk helicopters, go to war for this nation, nearly lose my life fighting for the rights enshrined in the Constitution I protected, only to come home and have those same rights stripped away from the next generation of girls who simply want to follow their own dreams. like I did mine.”

Will a speech like that change the outcome of today's vote? We may know by the end of the day.

By:  Mark Walsh