WASHINGTON – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of H.R. 8297, the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act and H.R. 8296, the Women’s Health Protection Act. Below is a copy of his remarks as prepared for delivery and the video:
“Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this bill and the Women’s Health Protection Act that we are also considering today.
“Three weeks ago today, the United States Supreme Court ruled to overturn a Constitutional right for the first time. This unprecedented decision reversed nearly fifty years of established precedent, overturning Roe v. Wade and paving the way for trigger laws across the country to criminalize access to abortion instantly. With this ruling, women in 2022 will have fewer rights than their mothers or grandmothers.
“Today, the House of Representatives is responding forcefully to protect the women of our country. Today, this House will vote to stand with women and affirm their freedom to make their own health-care decisions – free from interference from politicians.
“We must do everything in our power to ensure that women are free to travel wherever they need in order to access safe, legal abortions without fear of punishment. That’s why I am bringing The Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act to the floor today.
“This legislation would prohibit states from preventing, impeding, or obstructing women from traveling to other states for abortion care or retaliating against them for doing so. This bill would also extend the same protections to health care providers who perform abortions for out-of-state patients and to anyone who helps them with transportation. Additionally, this bill would protect the movement in interstate commerce of prescription drugs approved by the F.D.A. to end pregnancies safely at home.
“I’m grateful to Reps. Lizzie Fletcher, Marilyn Strickland, and Jamie Raskin for introducing this legislation and to Chairman Frank Pallone for advancing it through the Energy and Commerce Committee expeditiously. I also want to thank Reps. Diana DeGette and Barbara Lee for their leadership on this issue as Co-Chairs of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.
“While protecting interstate travel is an important step, Congress must do much, much more to ensure that every woman in our country can access health care and reproductive choice safely, legally, and affordably.
“That’s why we are also considering an updated version of the Women’s Health Protection Act today. I want to thank Rep. Judy Chu again for her leadership in this effort. Make no mistake, until we codify Roe v. Wade’s forty-nine year precedent in federal statute, women in many parts of our country will not be safe or have access to the health care they need. If we fail to do so, they will continue having to leave their states and even their country to exercise that basic right.
“How far will women in America have to go until they are no longer treated as second-class citizens? How long will they have to struggle until they once again have the Constitutional right that had been recognized and protected for their mothers and grandmothers? I urge my colleagues to join me in voting ‘yes’ to protect every American woman’s reproductive freedom where they live.”