In response to the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions to Attorney General, Dr. Willie Parker, Board Chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, issued the following statement:
“As a physician from Alabama who provides abortions, I have seen firsthand how Jeff Sessions’ brand of politics endangers the health and safety of women and families. His extreme record of hostility towards reproductive rights stands in the way of his ability to protect the constitutional right to abortion and the safety of patients and providers. This is unacceptable for any officeholder, but especially worrisome for someone who is now the chief law enforcement official of our great country.
As proponents of quality reproductive health care, we are dedicated to helping women and men exercise their right to lives of autonomy, dignity, self-determination, and opportunity. Not only has Senator Sessions voted against protecting reproductive health care providers and their patients from clinic violence and harassment, Senator Sessions has a record that is marred by racism. He has also made troubling comments about sexual assault victims, and he has voted against protections for the LGBT community. These are not the actions of someone who will protect our citizens or their fundamental rights.
Despite the challenges that Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General will pose, we must remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘The time is always ripe to do right.’ It is now more important than ever that physicians continue to fight for the right to safe, comprehensive reproductive health care.”
President Trump announced the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to Merrick Garland’s seat on the Supreme Court. Jodi Magee, President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health, responds:
“The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch is deeply concerning, as President Trump has promised that any judge he nominates will overturn Roe v. Wade. Any prospective Supreme Court nominee must hold views consistent with the Constitution and settled law about a woman’s ability to make her own reproductive health decisions. That must include upholding Roe v. Wade—the law of the land for 44 years. Women rely on this decision every day.
The founders of Physicians for Reproductive Health saw incredible suffering when abortion was illegal and women were forced to go outside of the medical field for a medical procedure. Those doctors were forever marked by their experiences treating patients who had perforated uteruses from knitting needles and wire hangers. Seeing this suffering made our founders determined to advocate for legal abortion across the country.
Not only do we need a justice will who preserve Roe v. Wade, we need someone who will focus on the evidence of what is and is not beneficial to women’s health. Burdensome restrictions that lessen access to abortion care do not advance women’s health, as the Supreme Court recognized in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
As one of the 10th Circuit Court Judges who ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, Judge Gorsuch put an employer’s personal beliefs over a patient’s right to access medical treatment. He has a record of undermining health care access for women and is not someone who will reject medically unnecessary restrictions that endanger women.
We cannot go backward or it will be at the expense of the well-being of the women our physicians care for every day. These are our friends, sisters, mothers, and daughters as one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. We urge the Senate to reject Judge Gorsuch because he does not meet the essential qualifications for service on our highest court.”