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Sen. Hirono questions experts on reproductive rights with overturn of Roe v. Wade

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US Sen. Mazie K. Hirono discusses reproductive rights during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Screen shot of hearing

During a hearing of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) questioned health care and legal experts about the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade on abortion access and other constitutional rights, and what can be done to protect abortion access for all.

Sen. Hirono, a member of the committee, reiterated the importance of individuals being able to make decisions about their own bodies.

It is the woman, not a bunch of politicians, who should decide her bodily autonomy,” Sen. Hirono said. “As I listen to all of my colleagues who support the Supreme Court’s recent decision, they intentionally lose sight of who should be making the decision about what to do with our own bodies — us or a bunch of politicians?”

UC Berkeley Law Professor Khiara Bridges elaborated on what she says is the faulty logic of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“With the approach of originalism, the Justices who took that approach go all the way back to our founding fathers; and pretend that they know what our founding fathers meant when they drafted the Constitution,” Sen. Hirono. “… Is there any reference to AR-15 rifles in our Constitution? No.”

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Bridges said: “I am very concerned about where the court is going to go. The logic of the Dobbs decision, the method of constitutional interpretation of the Dobbs decision, should frighten everyone who hold dear these rights that are necessary for people to live fully human lives with dignity in this country.”

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Sen. Hirono also highlighted her concern that the right-wing majority on the Supreme Court would attempt to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges next, threatening the future of same-sex marriages and the constitutional rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Every single decision of the Supreme Court is a precedent, but the one group that can overturn precedent is the Supreme Court and they are very busy doing so,” Sen. Hirono said. “We have a radical group of very conservative justices who are going to be making further decisions like this.”

Sen. Hirono also asked Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, about the chaos created as a result of Dobbs, and the possibility of changes to what will be taught in medical school about pregnancy.

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“We will be creating an entire cohort of physicians who are underprepared to take care of pregnancy emergencies,” Dr. McNicholas said. “I think it is important to note that medications and procedures are simply that. What changes is the indication. So the medications we use for medication abortion and the procedures we use to perform the procedures are the same exact medicines and procedures we use for people experiencing pregnancy loss.”

Sen. Hirono’s remarks and exchange with Professor Bridges and Dr. McNicholas during the hearing is available here.

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