Three local women state leaders join Murray at abortion rights rally

Keiser, Orwall and Entenman among many at Seattle Planned Parenthood clinic

U.S. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray speaks May 6 at an abortion rights rally in Seattle. U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Sammamish, is on the left. COURTESY PHOTO, Patty Murray

U.S. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray speaks May 6 at an abortion rights rally in Seattle. U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Sammamish, is on the left. COURTESY PHOTO, Patty Murray

Three women state leaders who represent the Kent-Des Moines area in the Legislature were among those who joined Washington’s U.S. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray at a Seattle Planned Parenthood clinic about the urgent need to protect the right to abortion.

State Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines; State Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines; and State. Rep. Debra Entenman, D-Kent, were three of the nearly two dozen women at a May 6 press conference to support the passage by Congress of the Women’s Health Protection Act in the wake of the news that the U.S. Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the constitutional right to abortion.

During the event, Murray thanked the Planned Parenthood staff for their tireless work providing patients with the health care they need, and made clear that she stands with everyone enraged by this week’s news—and won’t stop fighting, according to a Murray press release.

“I’m here today to say thank you for your work,” Murray said. “Thank you for everything you do for this community. But I’m also here to let you know: you are not alone in this fight. I am right beside you.

“Because as heartbroken as I am—I’m also furious. I’m spitting mad. At the Supreme Court for considering stripping away women’s rights. At Republican state legislators across the country—including right next door in Idaho—who are passing abortion bans and starting health care crises that impact all of us.

“And at Republicans in the Senate who filled our courts with far-right, anti-abortion judges, who take every opportunity to undermine abortion rights, who have gone even further to attack birth control and other reproductive health care—including just last week with an attack on the Title X family planning program—and who are now trying to push a federal abortion ban.”

Murray, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, emphasized that she’s doing everything she can in Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and get a bill to President Biden’s desk to protect the right to abortion—but that more pro-choice voices are needed in Congress.

“In light of this truly devastating news about the Supreme Court, we’re going to force them to show the American people their true colors—and cast a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, a landmark bill to protect the right to abortion,” Murray said. “And I will not stop fighting, I will not stop speaking up—and doing everything I possibly can to get a bill to President Biden’s desk to protect the right to abortion. But we need to send more pro-choice voices to the Senate and the House—and this November we need to make it happen.”

Since the leaked decision revealed that the Supreme Court was planning to overturn Roe, Murray has been a leader in the Senate pushing back: releasing a statement calling the decision a “five-alarm fire,” and calling for a vote on WHPA so every Republican senator is forced to show the American public where they stand, and pressing the Biden Administration for federal action in response to this latest attack on abortion rights, according to her press release.

The House has already passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify the right to an abortion in federal law and block states from significantly restricting it, but the Senate blocked the bill in February in a 48-46 vote, according to Forbes.com. The bill needs 60 votes to pass the Senate. Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has called for the Senate to get rid of the filibuster in light of the expected decision to overturn Roe, which would lower the threshold needed to pass the bill from 60 votes to a simple majority, according to Forbes.com.

Murray has also been fighting to protect patients’ access to birth control by making sure that insurers cover their birth control without out-of-pocket costs, as the Affordable Care Act requires—and by fighting to protect and expand the Title X family planning program.

Other state women leaders who joined Murray at the press conference included State Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary Franz; U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Kim Schrier (whose 8th District includes parts of Kent, Auburn and Renton); Jennifer M. Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates; State Sens. Emily Randall, Manka Dhingra and Claire Wilson; State Reps. My-Linh Thai, Lisa Callan, Brandy Donaghy, Davina Duerr, Noel Frame, Kirsten Harris-Talley, Mari Leavitt, Nicole Macri, Sharon Tomiko-Santos, Tana Senn, Vandana Slatter, Jamila Taylor and Cindy Ryu.


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