tv U.S. Senate Sens. Cardin Peters on Abortion CSPAN May 11, 2022 1:59am-2:17am EDT
>> if you think thank you again. one out of four women will have an abortion. democrats and independents and republicans are religious faith. for these women it isn't about politics it's about healthcare and most of them never expected to be part of the statistics that life doesn't always go as we plan and every day they deal with situations to deserve the freedom and the autonomy to decide for themselves what to do. so for this vote we are showing who we stand with and in those to make the best decisions for the health and family and future. i yield the floor.
former president trump bears responsibility for damaging our confirmation process in the public -- and the public faith of the supreme court as an impartial arbiter of our nation's laws. senate republicans deliberately stole the seat that president obama elected merrick garland to fill. senate republicans then turned around and rushed the confirmation of justice amy barrett after the death of ruth bader ginsburg even though voting began in the 2021 elections. a recent poll of "the washington post" and abs showed that -- abc showed that 70% of americans say
that the supreme court should uphold roe. now more than ever it's essential for the senate to pass the women's health protection act. the legislation would protect the right to abortion, free from medically unnecessary restrictions, and create a statutory right for providers to provide and patients to receive care. this would codify roe v. wade and prevent states from continuing to enact restrictions on reproductive freedoms. despite the opinion just being a draft and abortion still being a constitutional right, states are already seizing on the momentum of this draft opinion and moving to limit women's constitutional rights. since the leak of this draft opinion, legislatures around the country are rushing to criminalize abortion. just last week a louisiana
legislature would classify abortion as homicide. half of our states have already passed laws to restrict and ban abortion access. there are more than -- set to take effect if the supreme court strikes down roe v. wade. the republican leader mr. mcconnell stated, and i quote, if the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies not only at the state level but at the federal level certainly could legitimate in that area. end quote. thanks to five unelected active justices on the supreme court, women are facing the prospect of a federal nationwide ban on abortion services. we go back to those days where abortions were performed illegally in back alleys. we can't let that happen in this country. while many states, including my
state of maryland, have acted to extend abortion care, we cannot rely on a patchwork of state laws to protect a basic constitutional right. the right to choose is fundamental and a decision a woman should make in consultation with a doctor and other health care providers free from interference with federal, state, or local government. i urge president biden and the department of health and human services and department of state to act safely to safeguard the rights of americans. there is no denying this is a bleak moment. we know this has been an ongoing struggle with previous setbacks. we saw this just a few months ago, the antichoice pro vigilante law which will give fines for what is still a
constitutionally protected medical care for women. we cannot wait longer. we need to do what we can to ensure access to reproductive sses now. i ask my colleagues to pass the women's reproducing act and -- reproduction act. regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's vote or the supreme court's final decision, i will continue to do everything within my power to ensure that women can have access to the care that they need. madam president, i would yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: madam president, i also rise to speak about the need to pass the women's health protection act. the senator from maryland outlined a very strong argument
as to why this fundamental protection, this fundamental right needs to be protected. we know right now we may see the supreme court come out with a decision to basically end roe v. wade and in the process end a fundamental right that women in this country have had available to them for 50 years. you know, we can hear all the arguments, and my colleagues will present an awful lot of arguments tonight and tomorrow as to why we need to pass this act, but for me this is personal. a personal experience that i have had, and it's an experience that,unfortunately many, many families had. in fact as i shared this story, i've been overwhelmed by people reaching out to me and saying they too had a similar story and how he me talking -- and how me talking about it brought out the -- their willingness to share the experience as well. and in addition to that, they
understand how important it is that we protect roe v. wade and we protect the right for women to make critical decisions for themselves, along with their doctor, and not have politics interfere with those decisions. so my story involves my first wife. when we were -- she was pregnant with a child that we very much wanted, looking forward to have a second child. and in the fourth month, toward the end of the fourth month, her water broke. clearly a very dangerous situation. she went to go see her physician. her physician examined her and said with this water breaking, the amniotic fluid left the uterus, there's no way the baby can survive in this situation. they examined her, there was a
very faint heartbeat. he said there is a faint heartbeat, but there is no way this baby will survive. you will have a miscarriage. go home tonight, you will have a miscarriage and come in and see me tomorrow. you can imagine the anguish, the horrible evening and the -- the despair that she was in and i was in. it was a long, long night. the next morning nothing happened. she went back to the physician. we went back to the physician. he examined her again and said, i'm really surprised. i don't know why you didn't miscarry because it's clear that there's no way this baby can survive in this situation. the amniotic fluid is gone, the cushion is gone. he said i don't think i can do anything because there's still a faint heartbeat here. i don't know why.
go home tonight. i think tonight will be the night you have a miscarriage. we went back again. it didn't happen. another horrible night -- horrible. the mental health anguish is intense and families who have gone through this know exactly what i'm talking about. we went the next day. again, he examined her. he said i can't understand this, but this is going on, i'm really worried there is going to be an infection. there isn't the protection there. you could go into septic shock and your health is definitely in danger, the baby can't survive without the amniotic fluid, the baby could lose his limbs. i will say, that even though there is a heartbeat, we have to do a d.n.c. abortion to protect your health and your life if we
don't take care of this. i'll go to the hospital, go home and i'll call you and let you know when i can bring you in. he called and i will never forget the voice mail. he said, i'm sorry to say this, i went to the hospital board and explained the medical necessity and what you're going through and how we need to take care of this because it could clearly be a serious situation if you go into septic shock. and the board said, no, as long as there is a heartbeat, you can't perform this procedure. and then he said, he goes, there is no reason for this decision from the hospital board. it is not based on sound medicine or medical practice or what is best for your health, this is based on politics, plain and simple, this is politics. he goes, i'm ashamed that this happened and i'm embarrassed i have to call you and tell you i can't do it because the hospital will not grant me privileges to
do it. he said my advice to you is find a doctor now, immediately, that can take care of this procedure. well, you can imagine how scary that is, how frightening that is and what we're going through. who do we call in that situation? we were fortunate in the fact that we had a friend, a hospital administrator at another hospital and he got us in to see the gynecologist, ob obgyn. and he examined her. he said i have to do the procedure now. this is incredibly dangerous. we have to do the d and c abortion. if we don't do this quickly, you will lose your uterus and if we don't do it quickly, you could lose your life with an infection that could occur here.
so he immediately germd the procedure. think -- performed the procedure. think of that. one, if we didn't have the opportunity to see another doctor who was able to perform and understand the severity of it. my wife could have lost her uterus, had severe health impacts and could have lost her life. it rang in my head about this is about politics and this is not about caring for someone's life. it was about politics. and that is why we have to protect roe v. wade. we have to protect the right for women to control their bodies, to control their reproductive health. it cannot be a decision made by politicians here in this body or other places. and this is a real situation that families face, as i
mentioned, the outpouring of folks that have come to me facing similar situations. michigan has a law on the books that was written in 1931 that says all abortion is prohibited in our state. it doesn't matter whether or not it involves the health of the mother, it doesn't matter if it's the life of the mother or if the woman is the victim of rape or incest, it is not allowed. it is unconscionable. it is a real life situation that could happen if the court goes forward and reverses roe v. wade. situations like what my former wife went through and families all across america will not be able to have that kind of option. you think about the no exception for rape or incest that you will have a 17-year-old girl in michigan who was raped. she will have no options. i know a majority of people in
the united states believe that is unacceptable. i know a majority of people in the united states believe that women have the right to make these most personal, these most intimate decisions themselves with the advice of their physician and whoever else that they want to consult. this is not about politics. this is not about the opinions of folks who think that they know better. let's preserve the right of women to do what they think is best. that's why we have to pass the women's health protection act, and why i would urge all my colleagues to search their heart and listen to the stories that people will tell them, and understand that the right thing to do is to protect reproductive freedoms and rights in america. madam preside evenin