July 21, 2022

Wyden Urges Senate to Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Funding

As Prepared for Delivery

Mr. President, earlier this week my colleagues Senator Smith, Senator Murray and Senator Warren introduced a proposal called The Expanding Access to Family Planning Act, which I’m proud to cosponsor. 

I want to commend them for bringing it before the Senate today. 

The basic idea behind this legislation is simple. The Supreme Court overturned Roe against the will of the American people. States are criminalizing abortion. Many women and girls are now being forced to carry pregnancies to term and give birth. 

If you’re going to stand by this forced-birth agenda, then you absolutely must guarantee basic health care for women and families. That’s our challenge to Senate Republicans. You cannot be pro-life and pro-family if you’re against health care that saves lives and protects families. 

This legislation is centered on a big increase in what’s known as Title X funding, which goes toward basic, essential services like HIV tests, contraception, treatment for infections, and pregnancy counseling. 

I want to briefly focus on one absolutely vital service women get through Title X: cancer screenings.

Here’s why cancer screenings are such an important issue now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe

Over the last few weeks, there has been a wave of horror stories about the chaos this radical Supreme Court ruling has unleashed on women’s health care. Drawn-out miscarriages. Potentially fatal complications left untreated. Doctors unsure of what treatments they’re legally allowed to perform. 

One of the absolute nightmares for women living in forced-birth states is getting pregnant and having cancer at the same time. 

The question is, in a world where a miscarriage could lead to criminal charges, how do you treat a pregnant woman with cancer? 

Think about that. 

Could getting chemo be a crime in a forced birth state? In forced-birth states, how many Americans are going to die because they waited too long to begin treatment for breast cancer or cervical cancer? Or because they didn’t get treated at all?

It’s appalling that Americans are facing this kind of awful unthinkable situation, all because six Republicans on the Supreme Court threw fifty years of settled law on abortion rights into the dustbin. 

Obviously my strong preference would be to pass legislation that affirms the right to an abortion. 

At a minimum, the Senate ought to pass this bill that helps guarantee women can get cancer screenings and other basic services that lead to healthy pregnancies and healthy kids. 

How can you support forced birth and oppose basic health care and support services for pregnancy? 

So my colleagues Senator Smith and Senator Murray are going to put that to the test today. I’m with them 100 percent. Women in America need clarity and support about the health care that’s available to them after the Supreme Court shredded the right to an abortion. The Senate has an obligation to provide that clarity and guarantee that more women can get the basic reproductive health care they have a right to obtain. 

A video of Wyden’s floor remarks is here.


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