WASHINGTON, D.C. –Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned health care and legal experts in a full committee hearing about the implications of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision overturning Roe v. Wade on abortion access and other constitutional rights, and what can be done to protect abortion access for all.
In the hearing, Senator Hirono 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,” said Senator Hirono in her remarks. “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?”
Senator Hirono asked UC Berkeley Law Professor Khiara Bridges to elaborate on 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,” said Senator Hirono.
Senator 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,” said Senator Hirono. “We have a radical group of very conservative Justices who are going to be making further decisions like this.”
Senator 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.
A long-time champion for abortion access, Senator Hirono is committed to protecting the fundamental right to abortion care for all. Earlier this month, she convened a working group of Hawaii reproductive leaders to discuss the impact the Supreme Court’s decision will have on women in Hawaii, how to better support access to reproductive care in the state, and how public officials, physicians, and organizations can work together to better support women across the country. She and Senator Murray (D-WA) also hosted a roundtable with patients from across the country to hear directly about how Roe and the right to abortion have shaped their lives.
In June, Senator Hirono led several initiatives relating to abortion care and reproductive health. She led her colleagues in urging the Department of Defense to take immediate steps to support and protect female servicemembers seeking abortion services, and cosponsored the Affordability is Access Act (AAA) to help ensure access to over-the-counter birth control options. Senator Hirono also introduced the My Body, My Data Act, legislation to protect personal reproductive health data by minimizing the information collected and retained, and preventing that information from being disclosed or misused; the bill would protect reproductive health data from sources like fertility tracking apps.
A link to download video of Senator Hirono’s exchange with Professor Bridges and Dr. McNicholas is available here.