tv U.S. State Lawmakers Hold Roundtable on Abortion CSPAN May 31, 2022 10:03am-11:01am EDT
and state lawmakers have a virtual roundtable to discuss the impact -- the potential impact of overturning roe v. wade. the discussion was led by michigan senator. this is an hour. >> good afternoon and thank you so much for joining us during a very serious moment in our country. i first have to say -- anger of the horror that happened yesterday in texas one more after another. 19 children, two teachers murdered in an elementary to days before summer break was set to start. we all these grieving families and every other grieving family around the country to act to stop this.
so appreciative of our majority leader schumer. all we need are for republican members -- four republican members from the senate to join us. we have courageous elected officials healing from today who are standing strong against an attempt to roll back 50 years of women's freedoms to make our own health care decisions. if roe v. wade is overturned by the supreme court, it will have grave consequences for women across our country. this is especially true in my home state of michigan.
we will soon hear from my governor who is fighting and leading us to prevent this law from going into effect and affecting michigan women. it is not just women in michigan, as we know. talks to revert back to the law from 1849. to ban abortions with no exceptions for rates and insets. this all comes down to who should make incisions about your health care. not the republican politicians, right wing members of the supreme court, or you? democrats then with women across the country who deserve the freedom to make our own health care decisions. now we are going to welcome our leader who has been steadfast in standing up for the reproductive freedom working with all of us to make sure we can do
everything humanly possible to be able to protect a woman's right to make her own reproductive choices. senate majority leader chuck schumer. >> thank you debbie. and thank you for putting this together. debbie is a part of -- and she does a great job. thank you to my other colleagues. i do not know if i am missing any of my other colleagues here. i certainly think our guest. there is courage in fighting back on these abortion acts. i want to take a brief moment like debbie did to acknowledge the master cure of the fourth-graders and teachers in you've all the, texas yesterday. we are outraged, out ro khanna -- heartbroken, stunned. i woke up at 3:00 in the morning thinking what if this happens to
my little grandson. everyone has had thought like that. we are stunned that our republican colleagues overlook an overwhelmingly tragic -- and refused to act. the senate will vote on gun legislation. -- gun control legislation. we need 10 of their votes. which would directly address emotionally -- racially motivated shootings in my home state in buffalo. we are going to vote on gun legislation. we hope republicans will join with us, even though they have never in the pat -- never in the past. to senate democrats, we want good, strong legislation that has bipartisan support. if republicans refused to join us, we will continue to pursue
gun safety legislation on our own. we owe that to our children and grandchildren. now, on the issue of today. since the draft of scotus decision became public, the american people have seen a stark contrast between democrats and republicans on abortion. in recent weeks, republicans have revealed their plan. mitch mcconnell, senate minority leader said a national ban on abortions is possible if republicans retake the senate. this new six abortion ban doesn't even include exceptions for right or insets. in florida, republican legislators are planning a ban on abortion. these republicans are extremists and you can see that in their proposals. on the other hand, two weeks ago, the american people saw democrats fighting to protect women's freedoms. americans see state-level democrats like our guests here
today, taking an unconstitutional restriction to court and using their voices to uplift women and protect their rights. we know that the american people are on our side. that is why republicans pursue -- campaign committees are urging their campaigns to avoid the subject because they know the the public is overwhelmingly with us. i want to thank our guests for being here and everything they are doing at the state level. keep it up. between now and november, americans are going to see the contrast. we won't stop fighting for a woman's right to make her own choices until we succeed. i appreciate the opportunity to say a few words. sen. stabenow: thank you, chuck and thank you for your
incredible leadership on this. now i will introduce the members of our outstanding panel today. i will ask each of them to say a few opening comments. governor gretchen of michigan, my home state. she has served of governor of michigan since 2018. she has done an incredible job. she was the first governor to file a lawsuit to protect abortion access following the leak of that draft opinion. it will be waived or overturned, michigan will revert back to -- abortion has no exception for right or insets. josh paul was -- josh kaul of
wisconsin is with us. he has served since january 2019. doing a great job. if roe v. wade is with -- his return, wisconsin will revert back to an 1849 law under which abortion is a felony. state representative emily weber, we are so glad you're with us. she is the first american woman to serve in the general assembly. she has filed legislation to protect the freedoms of women in missouri if roe v. wade is overturned. missouri has a trickle -- a trigger law meaning all abortions will be banned with no exception for right and incensed. oklahoma state rep, -- the first
millennial woman in the third to serve in the overall state legislature. harsher abortion restrictions in the country. if roe v. wade is overturned, oklahoma will revert back to a 1910 law. we are so appreciative of each of you taking the time to join us today. i want to turn things over to governor --. >> thank you so much. with the release of the drams, what many of us have been on the
frontline were feeling, the worst case scenario where roe v. wade is completely overturned. we are to revert to a 19 31 law. after five decades of women in michigan having the fool ability to make our own decision, informed decision that are incredibly hard and incredibly personal and real -- and unique to the individual, they are now at threat of washing michigan go from being a pro-choice state to having the most extreme laws in the country. michigan is not just a state where michigan women have access to health care, medical care,
whether and when to have a pregnancy. that is why this is so crucial. that is why it is so stark what is happening across our country. we are going to fight like held to protect these rights. to be in the company of those -- of so many of those. sen. stabenow: thank you so much governor whitmer that you are pulling out all the step -- all the stuff. someone else pulling out all the stops is the attorney general. from another great lakes state and wisconsin. we are so appreciative of your being with us today. >> thank you so much for having me and thank you to my other panelists.
we are incredibly fortunate to have you representing wisconsin. we are thankful for your leadership on the national and state level. we have passed freedom issues and so many other issues as well. we have a 19th-century ban on most abortions that remain on our statute in wisconsin. there is some uncertainty as to whether that law will go into effect if roe v. wade was shut down. i expect we will see litigation. it bans all abortions except for abortions necessary to save the life of the mother and excludes the mother from the band. if you think about what that means, other than abortions to save the life of the mother,
of insets. this has been an incredibly drew connie and situation that you can find yourselves in very soon in the state of wisconsin. i have chosen not to use the resources -- it is my hope that they do not do that. it remains to be seen how that will play out. one of those is to have action at the congressional level.
those are critical efforts. i would also consider other opportunities to protect access, whether it is through grant access whether it is through protecting people seeking access to abortion. and then, finally, making sure people can access abortion services through medical services in their home state through as many as possible who allow access and other means that those are reimbursed. the last thing i would say is throughout two generations of precedent, that has also violated -- it is what may or may not stop overturning roe v. wade.
our elected representatives will plan the federal level. perhaps decades ahead. thank you for all the work you are doing. sen. stabenow: thank you so much. we appreciate all of your efforts for what we can do. we now want to hear from missouri state representative emily weber. enke so much for your leadership . we are anxious to hear from you about what is happening in missouri. >> thank you, senator for giving us the opportunity to speak with you. to give you an idea of what missouri is like, we only have
one clinic allowed to do abortions in our state and that is in st. louis. here in missouri, it is required to have antiabortion in person counseling followed by a 72 hour waiting. for abortion, to parental notes of consents. if a complete ban of roe v. wade is overturned with no exception for right or insets. this is not just in missouri. here in missouri, that is not happening. we must do everything to protect reproductive rights. some of the anti-reproductive
one of the bills would require pregnancy related services or counseling to provide medically accurate unbiased, labor delivery in order to be considered for state funding. the bill prohibits the state from denying a person's right to abortion -- in roe v. wade. in missouri, you all know we have a trigger law that was passed in 2019 that would make abortion illegal if roe is overturned. if ro is overturned for abortion and a child is right by their uncle, they will be forced to give birth.
we desperately need your help. we cannot let state tax or medicaid -- support. we need to find space and restrict access. thank you so much. sen. stabenow: thank you so much, representative weber. you are a tough situation. you are very creative and we really appreciate that you are not giving up on this. we are not going to give up on this. whether it is the november election, we are going to get through this and make sure we have the capacity to train our own reproductive --. we would like to hear now from state representative ajay
simmons. thank you so much for being with us. and another very tough state. >> yes, ma'am. thank you so much for having me. it is an honor to be with you today along with my distinguished colleagues and the rest of the panel. representative -- and i have been on a number of panels about this topic specifically. in oklahoma, we are exactly what she said. i am fortunate enough to sit on the public health committee and be on the front lines these bills. i have been told in committee that my call logs would rather -- my colleagues would rather be enslaved than have an unknown --. we are fighting so much here in the state of oklahoma as we talk about health care rights, access to health care rights. even though we are talking about a vote -- abortion and roe v.
wade being overturned, we don't even get access to adequate maternal health. if we are not serious about the mothers who are caring for these children, we say we are pro-life , but you're not helping the mothers who are losing their babies and sending them right back to work. that is what we are doing here in oklahoma. we are creating laws that will detain the future of women in our state. we are changing the laws of women because now they can have civil cases filed against them by people who are not even the father or the family member receiving the abortion. those are the types of laws we are passing here in oklahoma. i find as a minority, i am one of 19 democrats. i am the youngest female serving in the state of oklahoma.
i am the only african-american, native american to serve. i represent so many people in the state that are not represented on the house floor or in the state. these bills that we are passing were called a state of an emergency by the author of these bills. it is not state of emergency to make sure our children are not hungry. it is not state of emergency to fully fund education. it is not a state of emergency to keep our children safe in school, but it is state of emergency to ban abortion? those are the type of conversations we are having in oklahoma. my solution is that i know during this 2022 election cycle, our legislature is not going to change with the better. we have to have national health. we have to have national support. i would love to see a resource guide created through our
department of human services that is passed down to the resource directors so that women know what state to go to, what nonprofit will help fund them and where they can get transportation and who can support them. because oklahoma is not changing anytime soon and it is going to take work. but i want to save lives now, today. i want to make sure women are not self inducing abortion without medical help. in order to do that, that means we have to bring other resources into our state and not just rely on the people -- who are not doing that. sen. stabenow: thank you so much. appreciate all of you. and we want to open up to our senate colleagues that are with us. i'm going to start with senator
murray who has been with us for a long time. on the reproductive choice issues. senator murray, why don't you go ahead with your first questions? >> thank you so much, debbie for putting this together. thank you all for talking about the impact -- the real impact of everyone in this country and your work to advocate for the right to abortion. we are doing everything we can hear in congress to protect the right to abortion and fight back against the cruel agenda that we are seeing that will force women to stay pregnant. i know that a lot of this fight is going to be in your state. this is really helpful to know what we need to focus on on the federal level and what the real fight is going to be. thank you for being here. i have a couple of questions. right now we are seeing across the country go beyond attacking abortions in their own state to
attacking medicaid and abortions. i am going to ask each one of you, if this is what you're seeing in your state's question mark governor, i would like to ask you first. gov. whitmer: thank you, senator murray. i veto all -- if it is an attack on -- or an attack on women's rights. there have been a lot of different bills that have been introduced and passed through the chamber. i do think that these efforts will continue. there is no question that reinforces how high the stakes aren't one we think about this upcoming election in the fall. people on the other are enthusiastic candidates for this
position. my veto will continue to keep these efforts at bay. this is high-stakes for our nation. >> wisconsin already has laws regarding medication abortion. our governor is committed to -- legislation that will further restrict access. there have certainly been legislative action -- legislative efforts. there has been discussion of legislative efforts more restrictive. by delaying the protection of abortions to save the life of the mother herself. all of this is concerning. what we may be facing, it could
be seeing legislature efforts to further restrict rights to freedom. >> thank you. yes, 100%. we are seeing this. this past session. the one i mentioned, part of it was being used in the mail, too. we will most likely see more of those. >> thank you so much for the question. we have not seen that. we are in special session right now to discuss our governor's authority to discuss those. we feel descendant is going to try to slide one of those.
this last bill everyone has been talking about does not directly impact that. >> representative, i note tomorrow -- ban abortions in your state and empowers neighbors to sue neighbors. despite all of your hard work, describe for us what that means for women. >> it is on his desk. he has not signed it yet. you are exactly right. it mentions to anyone, from your church, your neighborhood, you consume each other. that for me says, we know he said, she said stuff happens all the time. there is gossip all the time. if your think about young girls in school or college or people who have had an emergency, this
could be someone who you don't know from any walk of life that just gets a whiff of what you have done in your personal life and they then can bring a civil lawsuit against you. not a criminal. the bill is not criminal, it is civil. but they can bring a criminal -- a civil lawsuit for you for what you do in your life and your home. things that could personally protect your life without knowing your medical history, resisting conditions, without understanding your finances or your financial circumstances. they can do that. in the bill, it says no courts of the state should have restrictions to consider any action that speaks to declare high and individual from enforcing any -- of this act. you are basically saying -- not
even the supreme court of oklahoma could take action to be able to tell someone they cannot sue someone else for making a private decision for their own personal life. sen. stabenow: you can't chat with your friends, you can't say, i was raked. you can't say this might've happened. you cannot talk to anybody. this is frightening to me. >> we also passed legislative -- legislation that you can soothe the physician. if you think of those kind of individuals, where do we have a safe space? where are we creating the safe space for women who can talk to someone to be able to garner help, to be able to get advice? we are seeing that now taken completely away from them. >> even your own family members. >> yes, ma'am. >> debbie, thank you.
sen. stabenow: as i am listening , i keep thinking about republican colleagues always telling us that they do not support government regulations and yet we are talking about for women, health care providers, for everyone. it is really frightening. i want to ask governor whitmire, you are doing a number of things to fights the michigan law. i wonder if you can speak a little bit more about the types of things that you are trying to push back on having those 1931 laws go into effect? gov. whitmer: i will have to excuse myself after i applied to -- reply to this question.
we have got to try to do everything at the state level. we don't know where this is headed. but we do know what options we have in terms of fighting back. they are asking us a brief amount of questions. planned parenthood filed a lawsuit. we got an injunction pass. and we also are collecting signatures to --. another thing i wanted to do was explore what can we do across state government. today i signed an executive directive requiring the state departments identify and stop opportunities to increase protections for reproductive health care. ever departments need to detail how they can increase choices available to protect residents
mental, physical and reproductive health. and three, show up at the safety of health care providers. increase public awareness about contraceptive and declined to cooperate with any investigation proceeding against anyone with reproductive health care in michigan right now. we are sending every tool available we have got to pull out all the stock -- all the stops. change in policy and axes for reproductive care, because abortion is health care. sen. stabenow: absolutely.
did women have in 1849. it passed at a time when there were virtually no rights. the exemption, as you mentioned was for the life of the mother, not the health of the mother. not with any focus on -- in the mid-1800s, there was no idea of -- because we revert to such an ancient statute, i would like to hear what sort of impact and --.
victims irate from incidents, >> you are absolutely right. this was passed -- the legislation goes into effect in wisconsin before the civil war. that is how far back we will be turning the clock. part of what is so fundamentally unfair that old law may go back into effect, people haven't legislature did on the core issues for almost two generations. ro has been in place and that is a protection people have relied upon. as they made all sorts of
critical decisions about the future of their lives. because the law we have in wisconsin is so old, it has accounted for all sorts of different scenarios that will arise in the real world. there is certainly no medication abortion in the middle of the 19th century. how does that apply to the modern reality that people face. unfortunately, it is going to be the source of significant confusion. in the meantime, it is going to shield people from exercising their rights. people who are victims of -- victim of those violent crimes, under this law, will have to.
a pregnancy to term. they will be forced into labor. we recently had a state constitutional amendment that provides rights to crime victims. the idea that after providing this right to be treated with dignity and respect, and the right to privacy for victims, that we would turn around and allow a law to go into effect that will force victims of a violent crime to carry pregnancy to term, that to me is fundamentally inconsistent about the rive gauche and the freedom --. >> thank you. sen. stabenow: absolutely. let me ask each one of our state representatives a question. and we will turn to make sure we have questions --.
can you talk a little bit more about how this new law would restrict room -- restrict women's freedoms anymore than the 1910 law? >> yes, ma'am. thank you so much for that question. we had a bill that was a criminal bill which abated abortion a felony. and inmate to perform abortions a felony. we also had a heart act. i will send that to your staff so the people can see them. that was the heartbeat bill that will start abortion at the sign
of a heartbeat. now, we just recently had one which i will -- which was our most strict one. and it was stop abortion at conception. it also goes on for civil litigation as well. basically, the goal of the bill is to give liability to providers as well as provide litigation to anyone who wants to provide litigation to the providers or to the victim. the goal for that bill is to completely ban abortion and to say, there is no timeline. there is no to weeks, there is no three weeks, there is no for this piece of legislation. it is basically, you have to carry the child full-term and abortion is illegal at conception. sen. stabenow: it is stunning.
when you really think about what that means, the implications of that. for girls, for women and so on. it is really stunning. >> it is stunning to think these bills are being offered by women. that is a lot of what we are seeing in the state of oklahoma is that these are bills coming through our legislature that are coming through our floor are being off -- authored by other women. it is very hard to stomach that a woman would take a right from another woman. we talked about the 19th amendment for the rights and freedoms of all women. and we witnessed in a last year
how the pandemic exacerbated the food and securities, mental health providers. we cannot even get some of these. but now we have women elected officials that are mandating harmful laws to other women in the 20 first century. we are seeing an attack on one another. we know that women of color, minority women, their pain has already been discounted by doctors and their physician when they say that they are hurting or they need medicine. and now we take away a right to health care that they can have that is being stripped from them from another woman. sen. stabenow: we have so many
women in our country with the freedom to make their own reproductive decision. we can't imagine how this is happening. all of these government agencies taking away --. could you talk about how taking away roe v. wade would change women's lives? >> i grew up in a very conservative upbringing. in the catholic religion and they believed abortions were bad. i was always the black sheep. very strong pro-choice. very strong supporter of women's reproductive health care. and finally took my mother to understand why a full
reproductive health care for women --. with all that being said, i grew up in an area where i felt like reproductive health care was always under attack. i grew up in kansas. one of the abortion providers was gunned down. that was the mentality i have always seen. before i was an elected official, i was a planned parenthood volunteer. i continue to see the attacks on our reproductive health care. road being overturned was not something i ever thought would happen. that was a fear that we all were
--. this is going to be very detrimental to what is health care and when is life. abortion was here before ro and it will be here after. it just depends if this is going to be safe and legal or if we could end up hurting more women and children. at this point, it is going to hurt us. we need to fight to make sure our reproductive rights are here. sen. stabenow: thank you. in the end, as we all know, it is about who decides a very personal health care decision. some politician in washington or in your state, or do we decide with our phase, our family, our doc errors? in america, this should be easy. this should be a freedom that is
very basic and it has been for 50 years. but now, because of a very frightening court and a group of white winged republicans, we are where we are. >> thank you, centre. we have a couple of questions. > lara, go ahead and unmute yourself and ask questions. high there. my name is lara morel, i am a reporter with investigative reporting. this question is for anyone who would like to weigh in. we recently published an
investigation that focuses on the rise of harassment for abortion providers. as many of you know, these riots will only continue to escalate. what measures are you taking or can you take to ensure the safety and security of abortion care providers? sen. stabenow: thank you. before i open it up to anyone else, we are very aware of what is happening. we are seeing more and more people. their phones being tracked, where they are going. abortion clinics or other places in the approach in the states has made it very scary. we are focused on what we can do to be able to address this. i am going to turn it to my colleagues or to members of the panel to talk more specifically about that. >> i will just say a couple of things.
the ability in the digital age to track people's moves. and where they spend time. we have raised the alarm in recent weeks, having learned about this. to include individuals to planned parenthood. including people who work there. it is deeply disturbing. as we want to make sure that we put a stop to that. this is a very different impact in different states. as we were sharing the wisconsin
-- the likely wisconsin experience, there will likely not be any interstate provision on abortion care. because the main providers said they will not expose their physicians to that level of risk of prosecution and imprisonment. we still have the issue that we touched upon and several of the questions relating to medication abortion. it is really important that we educate on that topic. i think there are a lot of -- out there that say if roe v. wade is overturned, it will not affect me because that is a predominant form of abortion care in this particular era. that is not true. it does affect everyone.
as new laws are past and current laws are reviewed, whether it is available at all. we have to focus also on the safety of people of prescription services. the provider abortion care and comprehensive reproductive care. sen. stabenow: if i do not have anyone else that wants to respond, if not, we will go onto the >> >> next question. >> senator, i can respond. here in missouri, -- we have one abortion provider in st. louis.
the doctor who does the abortions, they have to have a talk with them. gated security of their home. things like that. this is going to be a tough one. i believe the dot here in missouri -- abortion providers on their personal life. that is what they are looking forward to. >> i will briefly touch on it. here in the state of oklahoma, we currently do not have anything that protects the providers. the whole goal is to make sure the providers are not providing abortions. i know some republican colleagues are getting pushback on this last bill. because they send out copies to each other that said this is not a bounty hunter deal. they are getting, hearing from
their constituents. their constituency is concerned that we are getting these phone calls. from our constituents saying, what is going to happen to these providers? the fact that we now have a bill that allows litigation against providers and litigation against anyone to set someone up to be unsafe, to find evidence, -- that i now have to write to introduced to the court based on the legislation that we have. >> political violence in any
form is unacceptable. we are also committed to working with agencies wherever we can to hold those accountable. i would emphasize this is one of the reasons that commitment to justice and the rule of all and to not politicizing our enforcement efforts is vital. we need to make sure they are protected.
this is a fundamental -- we are going to be able to continue we have a lot of work to do together. we are committed to doing that. in the senate, what we can do legislatively and ultimately what we can do to make sure we have more pro-choice members. so that women don't have to worry about all of the things we have been talking about today. we are going to do it together. thank you so much.