© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

‘Shame on you:’ Sen. Duckworth slams anti-abortion Republicans in Senate debate

Sen. Tammy Duckworth livestreamed her speech on social media Tuesday morning.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth livestreamed her speech on social media Tuesday morning.

The Senate vote to codify abortion rights into federal law is expected this week, though Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, has acknowledged that it is unlikely to succeed.

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth took the floor during Tuesday’s Senate debate to address the consequences that people might experience if Roe v. Wade is overturned, unless Congress codifies a person’s right to an abortion.

The Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion from last week indicates the 49-year-old precedent of Roe v. Wade will likely be overturned, opening the door to restrictions on reproductive healthcare. Laws will vary state by state, but some fear abortion and other medical procedures such as IVF may be restricted or even criminalized.

Duckworth has two children, both conceived via IVF. In between pregnancies, she had a miscarriage. When she heard about Brittney Poolaw, a 19-year-old woman convicted of manslaughter after having a miscarriage, Duckworth said it felt personal. She accused GOP lawmakers of adding more trauma to an already traumatic end to a pregnancy.

“If the GOP had its way, women may now have to live in fear that the worst moment of their lives may also send them to prison,” Duckworth said.

Republicans in Congress generally oppose abortion, saying that the restriction of abortion access would save the life of a child. Duckworth called this hypocrisy in her speech on the floor. She said that if Republicans wanted to support life, they would support families and mothers rather than only fetuses.

“This isn't about saving lives. This isn't about looking out for families. It's about getting a slap on the back from their base and exerting even more control over women's bodies,” said Duckworth.

Duckworth said she believes Republicans are using this issue to get votes in the midterm election, whether or not they believe in restricting abortion themselves. She accused Republicans of being nearsighted and focusing on the election, rather than thinking of all the implications that could come with Roe v. Wade being overturned.

Finally, Duckworth said she could not reconcile Republicans calling themselves pro-life while refusing to take action against gun violence in the United States.

“Shame on those who want to take us back to the pre-Roe back alleys. Shame on those who don't dare regulate guns, but want to regulate our uteruses,” she said.

Gun violence is on the rise nationwide, and in recent years has particularly affected children.

Maggie Strahan is a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois.