The senior US senator from Washington, a leading voice on abortion rights in Congress for decades, on Friday called November’s elections in Roe v. as an outlet of anger and outrage over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Wade.
When the decision was announced, “I felt an absolutely heavy weight on my shoulders,” Sen. Patty Murray said in a Seattle Times interview.
“I’m scared and intimidated for women today, and I’m so sad,” she said, “but also really angry.”
Murray, a five-term Democrat who chairs the Senate Health Committee, has pushed unsuccessfully this year for a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify abortion rights nationwide.
She led a group of senators this month urging President Joe Biden to sign an executive order on abortion rights, suggesting the federal government could increase access to medical abortion and in other states. Can help pay individuals to travel for an abortion. But none of those actions will dramatically change the court-initiated new reality.
“Let me make this clear. Right now, there are no votes in the United States Senate to enact Roe into law,” Murray said Friday on MSNBC.
“I am going to work every day to make sure voters understand that this is the choice they will make in November,” she said. “That’s the only way we can change the law and ensure women can make their own economic and health care choices.”
Murray and his aides are stuck in the 50-50 Senate right now, because they don’t have the 60 votes needed to crack a Republican filibuster on abortion-rights legislation, nor the 50 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. Two conservative Democrats have refused to support it.
“We need 52 Democratic senators and we need a Democratic majority in the House to send this to the president’s desk,” Murray said in an interview with the Seattle Times. “We’ve already seen that Republicans are determined to block whatever we can.”
US Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat whose district includes much of Seattle, echoed Murray’s message in a statement Friday, calling on voters to hold a majority in both the House and Senate.
“We all must continue to take this noble anger to the streets and to the polling stations,” she said. “We must channel our anger and make it clear that abortion rights are on the ballot this November.”
U.S. Representative Kathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican whose district includes Spokane, also looked ahead in a Fox News interview as she celebrated the court’s decision as a victory and affirmed that “every life is worth living.”
“This is just the beginning. How are we going to react?” That said, concurring with former Vice President Mike Pence, who on Friday called for a ban on abortion in every state.
The Democratic Party is playing the defense in Washington this year, with Rep. Kim Schrier facing multiple Republican challengers in the 8th Congressional District, a purple district that stretches from Issaquah to Wenatchee.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee voted Roe v. Wade’s decision Friday to blast Shire’s opponents, arguing that those candidates must now “reach their extreme, deeply unpopular positions.”
Jesse Jensen, a combat veteran and technology manager who ran for Congress in 2020; Matt Larkin, an attorney and business executive who ran for attorney general in 2020; And Scott Stephenson, an Amazon program manager, has all opposed either abortion or Roe v. Wade. King County Council member Reagan Dunn described herself as a supporter of abortion rights in years past, but last month voted against council legislation ratifying such rights.
“The stakes in this election couldn’t be higher: every GOP candidate is anti-choice and will have a credible vote in Congress against women’s reproductive freedom,” DCCC spokeswoman Johanna Warshaw said in a statement.
Murray’s challengers this year include Republican Tiffany Smiley, a nurse who has been an advocate for wounded war veterans. Smiley issued a positive statement Friday about the court’s decision, describing herself as “pro-life” and “pro-women” and calling Murray an extremist on abortion rights. This decision, she said, means “the public representatives, not the unelected judges, will decide on regulating abortion.”
Some Democrats have asked why leaders have done nothing to prevent Republicans from achieving Friday’s decision. He said Murray voted against three conservative Supreme Court justices nominated by then-President Trump.
“I clearly saw it coming,” she said.