Lt. Governor Stratton: Post-Roe America will be devastating for Black women
SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton testified about the legal consequences of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade Tuesday morning. Stratton told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that Illinois Democrats made a vow in 2019 that the state will be a beacon of hope for all.
The Democrat stressed that people across the Midwest are relying on the state’s commitment to protect and preserve a woman’s right to an abortion. Stratton noted that Illinois stands out as one of the only states in the heartland where laws haven’t been overturned by the Dobbs decision. She said the Supreme Court ruling has caused disenfranchised but determined patients from across the country to come to Illinois seeking abortion care.
Stratton says the post-Roe America will be devastating for Black women who have a maternal mortality rate already two to three times higher than white women.
“One study projects that without safe and legal access to abortions that number will increase by over 30% among Black women, and nearly 20% for Hispanic women,” Stratton said.
The lieutenant governor also said the country is facing a future rife with needless death despite 61% of Americans believing abortion should be legal in most or all cases. She stressed it is hard to overestimate how devastating the recent ruling is and will be despite years of preparation. Stratton said everyone should be able to decide for themselves what is best for their own health care in conjunction with their doctor instead of politicians.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said Republican lawmakers want to win control of Congress and impose a federal ban on abortion. He quickly said the vast majority of Americans want to keep access to abortion legal and Democrats should enter a federal statutory right to an abortion.
“A woman’s choice to get an abortion is her choice alone,” Durbin said. “Politicians have no business sitting in the waiting room with the doctor.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) feels the Supreme Court corrected a wrong that has impacted millions of lives since 1973. Grassley said the treatment of Supreme Court justices, pregnancy centers, and conservative women since the Dobbs decision was leaked has been outrageous.
“I want to ensure that these violent attacks are recognized by the FBI and are being properly investigated for what they are - cases of abortion-related violent extremism,” Grassley said.
Although, assaults against abortion clinics and patients rose nearly 130% in 2021. The National Abortion Federation expects that violence will only continue following the Dobbs ruling. Of course, Illinois is one of the few states protecting and supporting legal abortion. Stratton said Illinois is now an island for reproductive care.
“Illinois was proactive, upholding bodily autonomy and protecting the right to an abortion,” Stratton said. “And still, the overturning of Roe v. Wade has sent us down a dark, agonizing path.”
Stratton said Gov. J.B. Pritzker has called on President Joe Biden to create a centralized hub for abortion providers and patients. Pritzker also requested more federal funding to support the demand for abortion services. Dr. Colleen McNicholas knows firsthand how the decision has drastically changed access to reproductive health care. McNicholas is the Chief Medical Officer at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Fairview Heights.
“Almost overnight, our Illinois clinic has seen appointments triple and that’s already on top of a double-booked schedule we were sustaining in the wake of Texas and Oklahoma’s abortion bans,” McNicholas said.
The physician explained that 36 million people of reproductive age now live in a state where abortion is banned. Dr. McNicholas said the six states with the highest maternal mortality rate immediately moved to ban abortion.
Denise Harle, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom and director of the Center for Life, told the committee the Dobbs decision provides tremendous hope for women and unborn children across the country. Harle argues the Supreme Court was correct to overrule the “egregious” decision in Roe v. Wade where seven male justices “insulted women’s dignity by saying that motherhood forces upon us a distressful life and future.
“I join with millions of mothers nationwide in saying that the ruling in Roe was a shameful, dehumanizing, and false characterization of the role that women and moms hold in our society,” Harle said. “I know that every woman’s story is unique and that for some women finding out you’re pregnant is very difficult and unwelcome news. But pregnancy is not a barrier to success and motherhood doesn’t ruin a woman’s chance to have a happy, fulfilled life.”
Each of the women testifying Tuesday said they condemn all violence following the Supreme Court’s decision. However, some of the comments between witnesses became intense on that subject.
“Abortion is an act of violence against the most innocent and vulnerable human beings,” Harle said.
“I condemn violence,” said Professor Khiara Bridges. “And I would like to note that forced birth is an act of violence as well.”
Bridges is an anthropologist and American law professor at UC Berkeley specializing in race and reproductive rights in law. She told lawmakers that the Supreme Court decision is already causing harm and chaos for people seeking abortion care, providers, and practical support organizations.
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