Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took aim at the draft opinion leaked this week that showed the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roe v. Wade, demanding cisgender men try to imagine what the United States will be like without abortion rights for pregnant people.
“I would like to speak to America’s men for one minute,” the New York Democrat said during a press conference on Thursday. “Imagine you do not have authority over your own body for 10 months. Imagine if that decision-making would be taken away even if you would die in childbirth, even if you couldn’t decide who you’re having children with, even if you couldn’t decide when you were having that child.”
“I don’t think a man in America could actually imagine not having control of his body, his bodily functions, what happens to him, and what life would be like for 10 months.”
The senator’s outrage comes just days after a Supreme Court draft majority opinion authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito said that the high court would overturn the decades-old landmark ruling that makes abortion a constitutional right. The actual ruling is expected sometime in June, but states under Republican leadership have already begun to roll back access to abortion — some even criminalizing it.
“It is an outrage that we have five justices on the Supreme Court who lied, lied in their confirmation hearings in order to be confirmed. It is an outrage that in America today, that our judicial system is so corrupted and so politicized and no longer representative of the will of the people,” Gillibrand said. “Five justices said they respect precedent, five said that Roe v. Wade was established precedent, five said they would never undermine established precedent. It is unconscionable what this decision will do to the American people.”
Democrats in Congress have attempted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade into federal law. The original bill has failed due to a lack of votes — and while eliminating the filibuster could get the job done, enough lawmakers, including select Democrats, refuse to support such a move.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) filed an updated version of the bill on Tuesday night in a desperate attempt to protect abortion rights. The new version of the bill does not include the legislative findings that provide the significant context behind the proposed legislation, but it’s still likely that the bill will fail when the Senate votes next Tuesday.
“I do not think that 50% of America should be told that they have to put their bodies at risk of life or death without their consent,” Gillibrand said, calling it “barbaric,” “inhumane” and “unacceptable.”
“I hope every human being in this country understands that when you take away a woman’s right to make decisions about her health and well-being, she is no longer a full citizen. She no longer has freedom, she no longer has bodily autonomy, she no longer has basic civil rights or civil liberties,” she continued. “That is what this decision would do in America today. … This is a life or death moment, and we need to fight like it is.”