April 19, 2023

Duckworth, Durbin Join Leader Schumer, Colleagues in Opposing Republican Attempt to Take Away Reproductive Freedom From Our Veterans


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Today, combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), other Senate Democratic colleagues, reproductive rights groups and Veterans to oppose the Republican-led effort to disapprove of the Department of Veteran Affairs’ interim final rule on reproductive healthcare. Senate Republicans forced a vote on their resolution this afternoon, which failed by a vote of 48-51. Full video of the presser can be found here and photos here. Video of Senator Duckworth’s remarks can be found here.

“This is hypocrisy at its worst: how dare Senate Republicans try to stop the brave women who choose to defend our great nation from being able to choose what is best for her own body, her own health and her own life,” said Duckworth. “The VA made the right decision to provide abortion care to our brave, selfless Veterans whenever and wherever they need it—and Senate Democrats will block any and all Republican attempts to roll it back.”

“If we trust veterans to serve our nation and risk their lives, how can we say to those same veterans that we can’t trust them to make their own health care decisions?” said Durbin. “To think that we are facing this because a Senator from Alabama is holding up military promotions to make his point - it’s disrespectful to our veterans and harmful to our national security.  I will continue to fight for reproductive rights for our nation’s veterans alongside my Democratic colleagues.”

Duckworth and Durbin are fierce advocates in protecting women’s right to access the reproductive healthcare they need. Recently, Duckworth and Durbin joined more than 250 members of Congress in submitting an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, in support of the Biden Administration’s appeal of a federal district court ruling that suspends the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) more than 20-year-old approval of mifepristone as well as the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit—which does not revoke FDA approval of mifepristone in its entirety but does significantly restrict access to the drug nationwide and ultimately overrides FDA’s scientific judgment. Duckworth and Durbin also helped introduce the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2023, federal legislation to guarantee access to abortion everywhere across the country and restore the right to comprehensive reproductive healthcare for millions of Americans.

Duckworth hosted Dr. Erin King of Illinois’s Hope Clinic as her 2023 State of the Union guest, as part of the Senator’s continuing efforts to defend Americans’ right to full, comprehensive reproductive healthcare—no matter their zip code, income, ability status or skin color. In 2021, she introduced the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act, as well as previously supported the Women’s Health Protection Act, which she vocally criticized Republicans for blocking. After she urged Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to proactively protect servicemembers’ abortion rights, the Department of Defense announced several new protections and services to ensure our female troops can access the healthcare they need. Duckworth also pushed back against Republican attacks against the Biden Administration’s efforts to protect female Veterans’ access to care.