MIL-OSI USA: Menendez, Booker, and Sherrill Join with Reproductive Rights Organizations, Advocates, and Students in Rally for Federal Abortion Rights

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US Senate News:

Source: United States Senator for New Jersey Bob Menendez
NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) were joined today by Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.-11), and several local and state elected officials, as well as reproductive rights advocates and students for a rally in support of federal abortion rights.
Attending the rally were students from Rutgers University, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey, the American Civil Liberties of New Jersey and Garden State Equality. The rally was also attended by New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz and Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake.
The rally comes days ahead of a scheduled Senate vote this week to advance legislation that would codify into federal law the right to an abortion. Last week, a draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court was leaked and indicates that the Court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide.
“Let us be abundantly and unapologetically clear. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land.  It is well-established precedent,” said Sen. Menendez.  “And if you’re the Supreme Court of the United States, the institution entrusted by the Constitution to interpret laws and rights for every person in this nation, you cannot strike down 49 years of precedent on a whim. Supreme Court Justices cannot draft a majority opinion, one that is filled with flawed justifications and racist and sexist assertions, and consider the matter settled. And they most certainly cannot strip the fundamental rights of half the American population without a fight.”
 

CLICK TO VIEW SEN. MENENDEZ’S REMARKS
 
“For decades, Republicans in state legislatures and Congress have proposed draconian abortion bans that seek to control, criminalize, and dehumanize Americans’ most personal health decisions,” said Sen. Booker. “With last week’s draft Supreme Court ruling, we are at a decisive moment in the fight to protect abortion rights. At today’s rally, I was proud to join with fellow New Jersey elected officials, activists, and students to call for the codification of Roe v. Wade into law so that a fundamental right of Americans is protected from ongoing, coordinated attacks.”
 
“This absolute tragedy is the direct result of the continued radicalism of the Republican Party and its turn to the far right,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “Now, women across the country are in jeopardy of falling backwards to a dark past when access to a safe abortion procedure was difficult or impossible. I have always been a proud supporter of a woman’s right to choose because I know that we must trust women to make their own health care decisions rather than dictating to them. There is a solution to this urgent problem that must happen now. Last September, I joined Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives in passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. This legislation would guarantee the legal right to an abortion for all women nationwide. The U.S. Senate must act now to pass this bill and, if necessary, Senate leaders must abolish the filibuster to allow an up or down vote to be held. There is no other action that would rise to the urgency of this moment than doing whatever it takes to pass this bill. The American people are watching and they are counting on us to act. We must not let them down.”
“As the conservative activist judges of the Supreme Court move to strike down half a century of legal precedent, it is Congress’s responsibility to protect women’s autonomy. I proudly voted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act in the House last September to ensure women have access to reproductive care without undue restrictions. We rallied here today to call on the Senate to do the same,” said Rep. Sherrill. “Congress works for the people and the vast majority of Americans know and believe in this constitutional right.”
“We are at a crisis moment for abortion access in this country,” said Roslyn Rogers Collins, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. “Today, what seemed to many as almost impossible is almost our reality. But, to be clear: Abortion is still legal in New Jersey and we intend to keep it that way. We must turn outrage into action…we are furious, and WE WILL FIGHT BACK.”
“Reproductive freedom is a fundamental human right. Attacks seeking to restrict reproductive health care are rooted in systemic inequities that continue to have a disproportionate impact on Black and brown people. In this moment, when abortion rights are under threat nationwide, it’s as important as ever that states take the lead in ensuring that this right is not only protected, but accessible to all regardless of race, gender identity, income level or immigration status,” said Alejandra Sorto, an advocate with ACLU-NJ. “We look forward to working with Senator Menendez and New Jersey’s congressional delegation on federal protections, and with our state legislature in removing barriers to abortion access that remain in place and to make New Jersey a national leader for reproductive freedom.”
 
“This moment indicates the end of a federal constitutional right to abortion and signals a radical erosion of much constitutional support underlying the rights many of us enjoy. We must be a strong united front because this is a battle for our collective lives and freedoms,” said D Belinfanti of Garden State Equality. “Power is not based on the strength of one but the strength of many. Justice is achieved through the resilience of many who’ve been disenfranchised. Our strength is in creating an equitable society. We must stand strong and united.”
 
“As an OBGYN, abortion provider, and woman, I am incredibly worried about what the future for reproductive health care will look like now after the June SCOTUS ruling. This is not a drill – Roe is on the brink of being overturned. Regardless of where you live, this ruling impacts all women and people who can become pregnant,” said Dr. Kristyn Brandi, OBGYN and Family Planning Specialist. “It impacts all reproductive health providers, whose clinical spaces either may be shut down or overrun with people seeking care from other states. No matter what the Courts decide: abortion is safe, normal, essential health care.  As a physician it is my priority is to ensure that patients can get the timely, compassionate care that they need and deserve – and that will always include abortion care.”
 
“We stand with our political leaders at this critical time,” said Rutgers Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor. “Certainly this issue will impact our students who we count on to create justice in this world.”
 

CLICK TO VIEW ENTIRE RALLY
 
Sens. Menendez and Booker have long been strong defenders of abortion rights. In February, the Senators voted in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that they co-sponsored. Both Senators have long supported Roe in past cases where a challenge was made to weaken or repeal the right to an abortion.
Sen. Menendez also signed onto the bicameral amicus brief that was submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court before the oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in support of Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This is the case currently being decided by the Supreme Court and it centers around a Mississippi state law banning abortions after 15 weeks.

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