March 10, 2022

Senator Hirono Thanks Abortion Providers in Senate Floor Speech

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), delivered remarks on the Senate floor thanking and recognizing abortion providers and clinic staff. In her speech, Senator Hirono spoke about how abortion providers enable their patients to make choices about their own bodies and futures and commended these health care professionals as they courageously provide essential care in the face of intimidation, harassment, threats, and violence from anti-abortion extremists.

On Tuesday, Senators Hirono and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the first congressional resolution to honor abortion providers and clinic staff. The Abortion Provider Appreciation Day resolution was inspired by Dr. David Gunn, who was killed on March 10, 1993 outside his abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida by a white supremacist, antiabortion extremist, in the first known instance of the murder of an abortion provider.

“Women across the country are under attack—and so too are the health care professionals who provide safe and legal abortions,” said Senator Hirono. “Abortion providers are compassionate, credentialed, and highly trained professionals who allow women to actually make choices about their own bodies, their futures, and whether or not they want to start a family. And they do so without judgement and in the face of violence. Tragically, Dr. Gunn’s murder was just the first known instance of a murder of an abortion provider. Across the country, abortion providers experience intimidation, harassment, threats, and violence from anti-abortion extremists.”

“These doctors, nurses, and staff fear for their lives just to provide access to reproductive care. Being an abortion provider is a dangerous profession in this country,” she added.

The resolution affirms Congress’ commitment to ensuring the safety of abortion providers and their ability to continue providing the essential care their patients need. It extends appreciation for the services these health care professionals provide to their communities and celebrates their courage and dedication. Senator Hirono is committed to ensuring the personal safety of all abortion providers and clinic staff, as well as safe access to reproductive care, including abortions, and protecting and advancing reproductive freedoms.

Text of the remarks is available below. You can also watch a video of the speech here.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that we are at a crisis point. Republican legislatures across the country are continuing to pass bills to control our bodies. And at the same time, Trump’s Supreme Court nominees are closer than ever to repealing Roe v. Wade. There are 26 states across the country that are likely—if not certain—to ban abortion if the Supreme Court repeals Roe v. Wade.”

“There is no question that these restrictions have an incredibly discriminatory impact and will disproportionately harm those who already face more obstacles when it comes to accessing health care. Including: women of color, women with low-incomes, people with disabilities, LBGTQ+ individuals, rural women, and more.”

“For over 50 years, Roe v Wade enabled women to make the decision about whether or not they want to start a family. But today, because of new abortion care restrictions, 90% of counties in the U.S. do not have an abortion provider.”

“Women are faced with impossible decisions and as a result, will be forced to have babies they can’t afford, didn’t plan for, or are unable to care for, or forced to have babies under life-threatening conditions. And, tragically, women may also die because they lack the access or resources to safely end pregnancy.”

“Abortion bans are a matter of life and death. Women across the country are under attack—and so too are the health care professionals who provide safe and legal abortions.”

“Today is Abortion Provider Appreciation Day this day was established to honor Dr. David Gunn, who was killed on March 10, 1993 outside his abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida by a white supremacist, antiabortion extremist.”

“Abortion providers are compassionate, credentialed, and highly trained professionals who allow women to actually make choices about their own bodies, their futures, and whether or not they want to start a family. And they do so without judgement and in the face of violence.”

“Tragically, Dr. Gunn’s murder was just the first known instance of a murder of an abortion provider. Across the country, abortion providers experience intimidation, harassment, threats, and violence from anti-abortion extremists.”

“According to NARAL, between 1977 and 2015, there were over 7,200 acts of violence carried out against abortion providers by anti-choice extremists. This included 42 bombings, 185 arson attacks, and thousands of death threats, bioterrorism threats and assaults.”

“And every single day—even right here in DC—anti-choice extremists station outside of abortion clinics and harass staff and patients. 14 states and the District of Columbia have needed to enact laws to protect abortion providers and patients. Including laws that prohibit blocking the entrance to a clinic, threatening or intimidating staff, damaging property, and more. And three states have even had to go so far as to establish a “bubble zone” to protect people within a certain distance of a clinic.”

“These doctors, nurses, and staff fear for their lives just to provide access to reproductive care. Being an abortion provider is a dangerous profession in this country. What other medical profession deals with this level of harassment and violence just to provide medical care? For what other medical profession do we have to create a ‘bubble zone’?”

“On Tuesday, I joined Senator Peters and my colleagues in the House to introduce a resolution to honor all health care providers who keep patients safe and healthy and do their part to help provide access to reproductive care, including abortions.”

“And today, on Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, I stand on the Senate floor to affirm my commitment to ensuring the personal safety of all abortion providers and clinic staff and thank these fearless individuals for maintaining abortion access to communities across the country. Mahalo.”

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