Congress Reacts to Abortion Ruling

Supreme Court strikes down Texas restrictions

Pro-abortion rights demonstrators at the U.S. Supreme Court cheer as they learn the court struck down the Texas abortion law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Pro-abortion rights demonstrators at the U.S. Supreme Court cheer as they learn the court struck down the Texas abortion law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted June 27, 2016 at 10:30am

The congressional reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down elements of a Texas law that imposed strict rules on abortion clinics was swift and, in many cases, predictable.  

Democrats heralded the decision as a victory for women’s right to seek an abortion, since the Texas regulations had effectively shut down half of the state’s abortion clinics. Republicans emphasized that the rules were aimed at protecting women’s health.  

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Abortion Rights Advocates Laud High Court Decision

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio used the ruling to point out the importance of appointing the right successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.

Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus

Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado and Louise Slaughter of New York  praised the decision as a victory for women’s health.  

“Today’s ruling reaffirms a woman’s constitutional right — no matter where she lives — to make her own decisions about her health, her family and her future. We are immensely proud that the highest court in the land has again recognized that women must be treated with compassion, respect, and dignity in making their health decisions without needless barriers.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“Even without its full roster of nine justices, the court clearly saw through the sham law enacted by the state of Texas solely to limit women’s rights and restrict access to health care.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas

“Today’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent for states like Texas, which the Constitution makes clear should be free to pass laws that are in the best interests of our citizens. Commonsense requirements that abortion clinics be held to the same standards as other medical facilities put the health of the patient first, and today’s decision is a step back in protecting the well-being of mothers across our state.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court sided with abortion extremists who care more about providing abortion-on-demand than they do protecting women’s health.”

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

“A woman’s health decisions must be her own, in consultation with her family, her physician, and her faith. Politicians have no business undermining women’s constitutional right to make their own reproductive decisions. Republicans cannot keep inventing ways to deny women access to their constitutional right to comprehensive health care.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

“With the Supreme Court issuing its final opinions of this term, we were reminded again of just how high the stakes are when it comes to appointing Justice Scalia’s successor.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

“This is a decisive victory for women across the country. After all the progress we have made on women’s rights, we cannot go back to the days when women in America did not have the right to control their own bodies.”

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah

“‎I am deeply disappointed in the Court’s decision. Today’s ruling only further complicates the Court’s already muddled abortion jurisprudence and inhibits states’ legitimate efforts to protect the lives and health of women and children. I remain committed to fighting judicial activism and protecting all human life.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

“A woman’s ability to make her own decisions about her health, family and future is a Constitutional right in America and I am happy to see the Supreme Court reaffirm it.”

Tim Scott, R-SC

New Hampshire Gov. and Senate candidate Maggie Hassan

“New Hampshire’s women and families deserve a Senator that they can count on to fight for their right to make their own health decisions and control their own destiny – and that’s exactly what I will do in the United States Senate.”  

Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas

“I am shocked and disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling today. The Court has once again failed to protect lives of unborn children and their mothers. The Texas law, which the Court has overturned, ensured that every woman can receive care with safe, uniform standards and admitting privileges to local hospitals.”  

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Sen. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J.

“Today’s decision reaffirms that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, and women have a constitutional right to have an abortion without undue burdens imposed by the state. This decision is a positive step forward, but more work remains to protect women’s access to health care from overly burdensome state regulations intended to deny services and care.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

“By caving to the demands of abortion extremists who seek to normalize the ending of an innocent human life in the womb regardless of the dangers, the Supreme Court has left almost no room for common sense and simple decency in our nation’s approach to abortion.”

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn.

“Today is a sad day for women and their unborn babies. With the drop of a gavel, five Supreme Court justices have endangered the safety of women who may seek an abortion and have ensured that more innocent, unborn lives will be lost in the process.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.

“The justices recognized the Texas law for what it was – a sham law that had nothing to do with women’s health and everything to do with shutting down women’s access to safe and legal abortion.  I believe women – not politicians – should make their own health choices.”

Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio

“A woman died in Philadelphia because abortionist Kermit Gosnell was allowed to run a horrific abortion center, thanks to lax and unenforced regulations. It should be an issue where everyone can agree, that these facilities meet the common sense standards that will protect the health of women in case of medical emergency. This shouldn’t be a pro-life versus pro-abortion issue, and those opposed to such safety regulations should be ashamed.”

Rep. Vickie Hartzler, R-Mo.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

“The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a hard and very personal one that should be made by a woman herself, not by politicians and judges.  The rules in Texas were clearly designed not to protect women’s health but to control women’s decisions, and it’s important that the Court struck down that transparent effort to compromise women’s constitutional rights.”

Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

“I’m saddened and disappointed that the Supreme Court has sided with the pro-Abortion crowd infringing on the fundamental right to life – and quite frankly, are allowing abortions to continue being done without adequate health and safety measures in place.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

“It is the right result – morally and legally – ensuring that health care is accessible for countless women, no matter where they live. The right of privacy upheld here – protecting women against insidious interference by politicians in their personal lives – is fundamental to our constitutional fabric.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas

Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif.

“Women’s health rights are human rights – and it is time these rights are not trampled or politicized.”

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.

“With this ruling, the Court has upheld a critical freedom for women to make their own decisions about their bodies.”

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Today the Supreme Court sent a clear message that all women have the right to make their own reproductive health decisions, no matter where they live. This is a victory for women’s health in Texas, in Virginia, and across the country.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

“This is a great day for Americans who believe in individual rights and women’s health care- but we must note: in state after state, Republicans are trying to take away reproductive freedoms and we must remain vigilant.”

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn.

“This is an historic decision that will increase access to care, decrease wait times, and improve women’s health.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision reaffirms every woman’s constitutional right to respect, compassion, and dignity in making her own health decisions. It is an important victory for women in Texas and across the country, who would have been forced to drive hundreds of miles and wait weeks for an appointment to simply get the care they need.”

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine


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