January 22, 2024

ICYMI: On 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Warren Delivers Floor Speech on Fight to Restore Abortion Rights

Video of Floor Speech

Washington, D.C. – On the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke on the floor of the United States Senate about the fight ahead to restore abortion rights and protect reproductive freedom. 

The full text of her remarks are available below.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Senator Elizabeth Warren
January 22, 2024

Today should have been the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Instead, too many people can’t get the medical care they need where they need it when they need it. Students who are desperate for help get the runaround. Poor women face impossible hurdles. Children who have survived rape and become pregnant are frightened and confused. Fertility clinics are abandoning services. And families that had hoped for a baby face excruciating heartache when the pregnancy goes wrong, and doctors are barred from helping.

At every turn, we see a new form of hell, brought to us by an extremist Supreme Court and a powerful band of Republican lawmakers determined to obliterate reproductive freedom across the country.

To every person watching these events unfold and feeling the hurt, I see you. I am with you, and I grieve alongside you.

But I do more than grieve. More than complain. I fight back—and I ask you to keep fighting too. Because right now, this is our moment to act. And if we don’t, we might not get another opportunity for a long, long time.

Roe wasn’t overturned by some accident. We’re here because Republican extremists have been waging a decades-long war to take down Roe. They poured billions of dark money into our politics to chip away at our rights. They handpicked judges with proven anti-abortion records. They took over state and local governments. They built an anti-Roe coalition in Congress. And the very second that the Supreme Court gave them the green light, they jumped into action, enacting the most severe restrictions possible on abortion access. 

The result? Over the last year and a half, over 20 states have banned or severely restricted abortion access, passed laws criminalizing doctors who perform abortions, or threatened access to pregnancy care, miscarriage care, fertility assistance, and more. Well-organized and well-funded extremists have brought lawsuits to further restrict access, hoping to undermine access in states that are firmly pro-choice.    

The result has been cruel and frightening. Some people have given in to despair. But I don’t see it that way.  

To me, the end of Roe marked a new era in the movement for abortion rights. Yes, an era that has been harrowing for people across this country, but also one that marks the end of a plan Republicans hatched 40 years ago to reverse Roe, and the beginning of a new chapter. And in this new chapter, we're leading the way. 

Together, we’ve made clear that an overwhelming majority of Americans support reproductive freedom and individuals’ rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Across this country, millions of Americans have come together and said they are with us. Not just in places like California and New York, but in Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. The Biden-Harris administration has stepped up to vigorously protect reproductive freedom – from defending medication abortion from baseless lawsuits to preserving access to care for service members and veterans to strengthening protections for patients’ sensitive health information. 

Republicans know that the majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe, but they aren’t letting up. Instead, overturning Roe isn’t enough for them—they want more. They have introduced legislation to ban abortion nationwide, and if they can’t pass it through Congress, they’ll use a Republican president to dust off a 19th century “anti-obscenity” law instead. 

We cannot let that happen. We have the energy. We have the numbers. And we know what we need to do.

President Biden has called on Congress to act. We need to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect our human rights and roll back the extreme abortion bills that radical right-wing legislatures have enacted across the country. And we need to get in the fight right now to secure the Congress we need to get this done. 

This won’t be easy—important fights never are. But I know our strength. I’ve seen it in the millions of people marching in the streets for abortion rights. I’ve seen it in the thousands of calls made to Congressional offices. I’ve seen it in the resolve of people standing up for Kate Cox in Texas and Brittany Watts in Ohio. And that’s how I know that even when it gets hard, we will persist. 

From this moment on, what happens is up to us. Together we have the power to restore Roe and protect our right to make decisions about our own bodies and futures. I’m in this fight all the way. The stakes are too high not to be.