Illinois’ Senators Lead Charge to Codify Abortion Rights Into Federal Law

By Benjamin Cox on May 11, 2022 at 12:16pm

U.S. Senate Democrats have started up a largely symbolic fight on a bill to codify abortion rights into federal law today.

In the wake of a leaked Supreme Court draft decision to possibly overturn Roe v. Wade, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to call a bill codify abortion rights along with certain privacy rights to the floor of the Senate today in spite of not having enough votes to pass it. The bill is likely not going to withstand the 60-vote threshold for a filibuster.

Both Illinois Senators spoke last night on the Senate Floor on the need to protect women’s reproductive rights in the country. Junior Senator Tammy Duckworth said that the Roe v. Wade decision gave her a chance to be a mother through in-vitro fertilization. Duckworth said abortion opponents want to undermine access to contraception and that bills have been introduced in some states to criminalize in-vitro fertilization. Duckworth also spoke about an Oklahoma woman who was criminally charged for having a miscarriage.

Senior Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says that overturning Roe v. Wade goes beyond just the right for a woman to have an abortion: “Justice [Samuel] Alito’s draft opinion in the Dobbs’ case questions the very existence of the right to privacy. It argues that unenumerated rights not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution must be deeply rooted in U.S. history and tradition in order to be recognized as a Constitutional right. Who decides what is deeply rooted in history and tradition? The court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision established marriage equality only 7 years ago. Will the court’s reactionary majority put that next on the chopping block? What about the right to contraception established by Griswold vs. Connecticut 11 years before Roe? A Republican member of this body recently criticized that decision establishing the privacy right of every individual to choose the methods of contraception right for their family – he described this as ‘constitutionally unsound.’ Rather than settling the debate on abortion, the draft Dobbs opinion would further divide our fractured nation.”

Schumer said early Tuesday that he wanted to have every lawmaker go on record with their vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act.

Some pundits argue this is a way for Democrats to show progressive core supporters that they are trying to protect women’s rights in Washington D.C. and get a dig in on Republicans ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections in November.