Senate, House committees probe abortion access following Roe v. Wade reversal

U.S. — Both a Senate and a House committee held hearings Wednesday focusing on abortion access across the states following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

The divide along party lines was clear.

“Women across America are feeling sorrow, anger and disbelief,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), during the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.

“Overturning Roe v. Wade was a historic occasion that signals a new beginning for millions of unborn American babies,” said Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), during the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing.

With abortion rights now in the hands of states, members of the House committee heard from two Democratic state leaders about what patients are facing.

“Today, accessing abortion in Georgia depends on whether or not you have the resources to overcome economic, institutional and legal barriers restricting access to care,” said Georgia State Rep. Renitta Shannon (D-Decatur). “The ability to access reproductive healthcare should not be determined by the state a person lives in. Having a patchwork of reproductive freedom across the country is detrimental to individuals and families.”

“Michigan now has a long dormant 1931 law on our books that makes providing a felony with no exception for age, rape or incest,” said Michigan State Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak).

A legal expert who testified as a Republican witness, praised the high court’s ruling as a legal and moral victory.

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs corrects a 50-year wrong one that resulted in the death of over 60 million unborn children,” said Erin Hawley, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom. “Roe v. Wade was premised on egregious legal errors and it’s reversal is a tremendous victory for life and for the American people.”

An OBGYN from New Jersey warned lawmakers about healthcare professionals having to balance providing medical care while facing the threat of potential criminal charges.

“I am frightened for my patients that may be criminalized for making decisions and for health professionals that are providing high quality evidence-based care,” said Dr. Kristyn Brandi, an OBGYN with Physicians for Reproductive Health.

As Democrats vowed to defend reproductive freedom, Republicans accused them of trying to distract the public from other economic concerns through these hearings.

“They have sought to draw attention away from the failures of the Biden administration,” said Rep. James Comer (R-KY).

“We will never stop fighting for women’s rights to control their own bodies,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).