Sep 8, 2021
Ed Markey Urges Supreme Court Packing Press Conference Transcript
Senator Ed Markey discussed the new Texas abortion law and advocated for increasing the number of Supreme Court Justices from 9 to 13 during a press conference on September 8, 2021. Read the transcript of the briefing here.
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Senator Markey: (00:20)
[inaudible 00:00:20] We should not be here today! We should not be standing here [inaudible 00:00:23] demanding that people who want to get an and do so under the law of the land, Roe vs Wade. On September 1st, The Supreme court of the United States decided, against blocking a radical new abortion ban in Texas that took effect on the same day. This new law effectively bans abortion [inaudible 00:00:49] as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy in the state of Texas. Which is a timeframe many people may not even know that they are pregnant yet.
Senator Markey: (01:02)
This law also incentivizes Texas residents to sue anyone in Texas who violates the ban. Private individuals can receive a reward of up to $10,000, when they successfully sue a doctor, a person seeking an abortion after six weeks and any healthcare worker who helps someone obtain an abortion. This new law strips the right of access to abortion services from most living in Texas, a state where there was already a lack of access to those essential services. States like Mississippi will try to replicate the success the GOP found in Texas unless we move to expand the court. The stakes for Roe vs Wade have never been higher.
Senator Markey: (02:01)
The Supreme Court has left us no choice, we’re going to have to fight for our rights like we always. That starts with passing my Judiciary Act of 2021. Which would expand the Supreme Court by four seats from 9 to 13, to ensure everyone’s rights are protected. We must also pass the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, which would safeguard against bans like this and other unnecessary barriers to reductive, to reproductive health services. Too many Americans view are highest court in the land as a partisan political institution, not our impartial judicial branch of government.
Senator Markey: (02:49)
To many Americans have lost faith in the court as a neutral partner of the most important constitutional and repercussions that lie in our judicial system. The consequences and the rights of all Americans. But especially, those of people of color, women and our immigrant communities are at risk. We know that abortion restrictions overwhelmingly affect communities of color. Their neighborhoods are the ones [inaudible 00:03:21] in it of abortion clinic shutdowns, from access restrictions and much more. They are in the crosshair’s of this movement that is coming out of Texas. Which, Right-Wing advocates in America intend to stretch across the entire United States that happened to be validated by this very Conservative, Supreme Court.
Senator Markey: (03:48)
We know that due to unequal economy, many people of color work in occupations that don’t offer paid family medical leave. That if a person of color, has to travel to get an abortion, their paycheck and their job could be at risk. And we know that this Supreme Court, which Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump packed in 2016 and 2020 is not on the side of those who want to have access to abortion services. Trump and McConnell violated historic norms, governing Supreme Court [inaudible 00:04:29]. They created a precedent that the Senate would not confirm the justice to the Supreme Court during a presidential election year, refusing to give now Attorney General Merrick Garland a hearing and a vote. They held the seat open for months and months, and then Donald Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch.
Senator Markey: (04:51)
They claimed that the proximity to a president election meant the seat had to be open until the people, through their votes for president could decide who should fill it. Yet 4 years later, just days before the 2020 presidential election, even while Americans are casting their ballots. Leader McConnell and his republican colleagues confirmed Amy Coney Barrett, to fill the seat upheld by the late, great Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So much for letting the people decide who would sit on the Supreme Court of the United States. And ask for yourself we have a [inaudible 00:05:37] 6 to 3 Conservative majority of the court that has caused the crisis of [inaudible 00:05:43].
Senator Markey: (05:44)
Republicans stole 2 seats on the Supreme Court of the United States and we must ensure that we correct that historic injustice. The Theft of those 2 seats was the original sin and the court’s ruling on Texas SB8 is the outcome the McConnell, Trump and their mega donors wanted. That law, in Texas makes it a crime for all intensive purposes, for a woman to be looking to find the abortion services, the health insurances to achieve. Make no mistake, this is only the beginning of voting rights, healthcare and beyond. Of the unraveling and the erosion of our civil liberties and rights.
Senator Markey: (06:36)
We must ensure the court fulfills its duty to deliver equal justice and the law. And the Judiciary Act will help restore the balance, the integrity, and the independence of the Supreme Court which we so desperately need. So while our democracy is damaged and our healthcare is at risk, we have a straightforward way in order to recover. We can undo the damage [inaudible 00:07:05] by restoring balance with my Judiciary Act of 2021. We would add 4 seats to the Supreme Court to create a 13 member Supreme Court. President Biden would be able to fill those 4 seats. Which would rightly reflect the value of the majority of the American people on whose behalf they serve.
Senator Markey: (07:31)
Expanding the court is constitutional and sadly, it’s an idea whose time has come. Congress has done it before, and Congress must do it again. We must expand the Supreme Court and abolish the filibuster in order to do. We are at a turning point in our country’s history. The Supreme Court is now controlled by 6 to 3 majority, that is a far Right-Wing agenda about to be implemented. With laws coming out of Texas and other very conservative states, that would then be the law of our country [inaudible 00:08:14] which everyone needs to have access to the health care services or the abortion services which they need. So, this a incredible moment in time and all I can say is that we’re going to be in this fight. We’re not giving up until we win this fight and we have with us three fighters who are ready for this battle. And let me begin by once again, introducing Jennifer Childs, roll check, from Planned Parenthood. [inaudible 00:08:43].
Thank you so much Senator Markey for bringing us together today and for your steadfast advocacy for Planned Parenthood patients and the right to safe and legal abortion. We’ve long know the devastating impact an anti-abortion Supreme Court would have on our health and on our rights. This is the moment we’ve warned about, anti-choice politicians in Texas have enacted a law that encourages and rewards people for interfering in personal healthcare decisions. The Supreme Court had a chance to stop this ridiculous law, but instead it failed the people of Texas. Now, Texans seeking an abortion or being denied the care that they need.
What does this look like? People are scared and confused. This law is not aligned with medical standards and has no exceptions for rape or incest. Health centers are flooded with calls, as people try to figure out where to turn for care. Patients must travel hundreds of miles out of state, take time out of work, arrange childcare and transportation, if they can afford to. Some must factor in immigration status and checkpoint concerns. Friends, families, neighbors are terrified that they would be sued for providing support or even providing a ride to someone seeking abortion care. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are being threatened for providing the basic healthcare information and care. And a number of people will find out this week, that they’re pregnant after that six week mark. And if they need an abortion, they will not be able to get one. In the midst of a pandemic, big public health crisis, when it is vital to prioritize access to basic healthcare for everyone. Texas politicians are instead saying, interfere in personal health decisions, spy on and sue your neighbor.
This unprecedented vigilante system empowers anyone to operate as a bounty hunter, to surveil and harass people. What’s more it isolates patients by threatening entire support network, health centers, proprietors, [inaudible 00:11:27] family members and friends across Texas, are all potential targets for expensive and frivolous lawsuits by anti-abortion activists. As with every political attack on healthcare, Black, Latino, Indigenous people, Immigrants, people with low incomes, LGBTQ people and people in rural areas. People who already face immense barriers to healthcare will suffer the worst consequences from this heinous abortion ban. And this is not confined to Texas. This bill is part of a clear national agenda to end access to abortion. Politicians have to introduce copycat laws in Arkansas and Florida and more will come. We cannot allow the reality of Texas to become the reality of this country. Especially when 80% of people in the United States believe that abortion should be safe and legal.
We must fight city by city, state, by state to ensure that people can always access abortion care. In Texas, we’ll keep fighting in the courts. In Massachusetts, we’ll keep improving equitable access to care and Nationally we will rally to protect access to abortion through the Women’s Health Protection Act.
No one’s personal decisions should be controlled by politicians, neighbors, complete strangers or anyone else. We alongside partners won’t let that happen. We will not back down. Now I’m really pleased to turn over to my friend and colleague, fellow fighter, Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice, Massachusetts.(Clapping)
[inaudible 00:13:28] Good morning everyone and thank you Senator Markey for organizing this event. [inaudible 00:13:49]My name is Rebecca Hart Holder and I’m the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice, Massachusetts and like so many people across the country I am heart broken, I’m outraged, and I’m scared by the vile attack on abortion access in the state of Texas. I stayed up late last Tuesday night compulsively refreshing Twitter in the hopes that by some miracle, the Supreme Court would block SB8. Of course that never happened and truthfully I knew that it wouldn’t. It was a surreal and painful moment to realize, that years of warnings from advocates would fall on deaf ears.
I am absolutely furious when I think about the Texan’s that have less freedom and fewer rights than they did before. So let’s call a [inaudible 00:14:37] what it is. It’s a calculated, insidious law designed [inaudible 00:14:44] to strip away the rights of pregnant people and [inaudible 00:14:46]. This law is rooted in misogyny and not morality. It does not protect patients, it does not support providers and it does not promote the best medical practices. It endangers patients and it promotes anti-abortion vigilantism. By empowering people to sue anyone in Texas who helps a patient access abortion care [inaudible 00:15:10]. This state sanctioned rule [inaudible 00:15:17] was given the stamp of approval by our own Supreme Court and institutions [inaudible 00:15:24] politicians the green light as Jenn explained, to pass the copycat laws across the country endangering the health and safety of millions of [inaudible 00:15:34].
This decision is a harbinger of what’s to come in Dobbs vs Jackson [inaudible 00:15:41] we will determine if the unnecessary law banning abortion after 6 weeks is constitutional. But here’s what we know. Protecting [inaudible 00:15:50] freedom is going to be a state by state, voter by voter grassroots battle. Here’s another thing we know, Massachusetts will be [inaudible 00:16:07]. We will support abortion funds and advocates in Texas and other states facing [inaudible 00:16:06]. We will be continuing to support advocates [inaudible 00:16:10] the right to expand access to reproductive healthcare rather than restrict it.And we will grow our Pro-Choice majority right here in Massachusetts and every level [inaudible 00:16:20]. We know it can be done because we are not outnumbered, that people are actually on our side. There’s more of us, that wants a society that embraces freedom, gender equality, science and love. That there are people who cling [inaudible 00:16:39]. They can be louder, but we will be louder. They can pass laws, but we will vote them out of office. They can spread inflammatory lies, but we will continue to speak the truth and we will not be silenced.
Our movement is stronger and more powerful than they can ever imagine. They want to bring us back into the dark ages, but we have a future at last. With that I will turn it back over to the Senator.
Senator Markey: (17:47)
Thank you Rebecca, and next we are going to hear from Carol [inaudible 00:17:47] from the Bad Old Days Posse.
My name is Carol and I’m the founder of Bad Old Days Posse and I want us to [inaudible 00:17:47] our mission is to talk to anyone who will listen about what life was like before Roe v. Wade because we need it. And I want to start with women. Women will die, women will show up in emergency rooms with massive bleeding, massive internal injuries and massive infections. Life plans will be ruined. This was the typical abortion, not just mine, but other people’s which I’ve heard about because I do this work. Before 1973, a woman, might possibly start by trying to deny, that doesn’t work. Then she might try to use some of these other methods to induce an abortion on her own knitting needles, knives, leeches, ingesting poisons, falling down stars, This does not end well. Then she might try to get a, get illegal abortions and has to find a provider. Maybe she is able to do that. She arrives I a city that she does not know.
Late in the night, she will have to go to another street on that city, which is even [inaudible 00:19:13]. She is picked up by someone she has never seen before, it could be anyone. He takes her to a ranshacked house, or an apartment, or a motel. She is asked to lie down on the floor or perhaps a dining room table. She is approached by the provider. She doesn’t know if this person is qualified medical person or if this person is some random person off the street. She doesn’t know, there is no way to know. He performs a dilation and [inaudible 00:20:16]. Which is the, [inaudible 00:20:16] primarily used for 2nd term abortions.It is without anesthesia. After that is finished, she is left to find a way back to wherever she is staying on her own. [inaudible 00:20:21] hope she does not have massive bleeding, massive internal injuries, or huge infections. My abortion in 1965, was much, much better than that. I probably had the best in that, [inaudible 00:20:47].
Anyway, a friend who knew someone, who knew someone who knew the name of a doctor. An actual qualified medical [inaudible 00:21:02] who was doing illegal abortions [inaudible 00:21:05] I followed my college’s informal rule to never let your bank account go below [inaudible 00:21:18] and I had the money. I went to the abortion, I survived the abortion, I survived to tell the tale and to fight the good fight. I am still telling the tale and fighting the good fight. And as the Posse members sit and in each of our speaking engagements, we do not want your past, our past to be your future. So, do what ever you can to support all the movements that are trying to overturn, the Texas Law and the other laws in many parts of this country. Life is before Roe v. Wade for the women of those [inaudible 00:22:13] So, Thank you very much.
Senator Markey: (22:18)
And we’re joined by a great leader up in the state house, Senator Lindsey Sabadosa.
Morning everybody. Can you hear me? So the last speaker brought in what it was like to have an abortion pre-Roe and in the past. I want to bring into this space today what it’s like to have an abortion today in Massachusetts. Because I think a lot of us celebrated the Roe Act which was an amazing accomplishment. [inaudible 00:22:55] to these fabulous people standing behind me and many of you [inaudible 00:22:59] who did that work. But I want to remind us, that even as we talk about this horrific law that we have in Texas, that we still have more work to do. So, I’m not talking to you today as a State Senator today. I’m talking to you as a member of Abortion Rights Fund of Massachusetts. The Abortion Rights Funds of this state [inaudible 00:23:24] and Western Mass. We fund abortions.
And we fund abortions because even in Massachusetts, abortion is often unaffordable. $730 if you don’t have insurance or if you have a high deductible and that’s only in the first 10 weeks, it gets more expensive. Then we talk about traveling, and the distances people need to travel to get to their nearest clinic. Sometimes those distances can be up to 4 hours, if you are relying on public transportation. So, I’m so happy, we’re here today talking about Texas and the amazing bills our great Senator has filed on the federal level to protect abortion. But I want to remind all of us that there is work to do in this state too!
That’s why I’m in that building over there to do that and that’s why I volunteer for the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts. Because we’re doing the real work on the ground to take care of people. Thank You.
Senator Markey: (24:17)
So, are there any questions?
Interviewer 1: (24:17)
Senator Marty, I know that you’ve been very vocal about reaffirming your commitment to uphold Roe v. Wade, do you think moving forward is it a legitimate possibility that, that could ever be overturned?
Senator Markey: (24:40)
I believe that this Supreme Court has Roe v. Wade in its crosshair’s. There is going to be an active, aggressive and very potentially successful efforts to overturn Roe vs Wade. Which the Supreme Court now passed. [inaudible 00:24:47] So I, I worry for those in America that the Supreme Court is now forced to go through a severely modified Roe vs Wade. And that’s why we need to expand this Supreme Court. This is an illegitimate Supreme Court, that was packed by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. That cannot be allowed to continue to erode not just the rights of the peoples access to abortion but to other civil rights [inaudible 00:24:47] So Yes, I’m very concerned. [inaudible 00:25:49]
Interviewer 1: (25:54)
And I’d love to follow up with the Planned Parenthood Representative that’s here today too. Can you just describe for a woman who may be, six weeks pregnant, may not even know that they’re pregnant at the time, what this law would do to women in that scenario? Again, may not even realize that they’re with child.
Yeah and I think that’s a really excellent point and [inaudible 00:26:15] primary care doctor for over 20 years. It’s, it’s a very common thing, in fact its the norm that people don’t know they’re pregnant until after 6 weeks. And it’s not unusual to find out after the fact and it’s really not a long time. It’s one missed period.What it means in Texas is, is they don’t know where to turn, they will reach out to providers like Planned Parenthood, some of the independent healthcare providers, they may even reach out to their primary care practices and one of the really chilling effects of this law, it threatens everybody who participates in any kind of conversation with that patient, even about options.
So, I’m not a lawyer. But I think that it’s clear that even the threat of a lawsuit is very chilling. It’s terrifying for patients and it’s chilling really for any provider. Even our own providers here in Massachusetts. That Would, that would really, it does, it does really impact not only people’s decisions, their willing to access healthcare, but also they’re willing to get information, which, and make really informed choices for them and their family.
Interviewer 1: (27:41)
And you guys do outside of obviously abortions, you guys write a lot of other resources to women outside. [crosstalk 00:27:48].
Absolutely. Birth control, transgender care, the list goes on but the really important thing is that it’s a part of normal healthcare services. Abortion care is a normal everyday healthcare procedure that is safe and should not be politicized to the point where people are not allowed to make their own healthcare decisions.
Interviewer 1: (28:27)
Senator Markey: (28:27)
Any Other questions?
Interviewer 2: (28:27)
Senator Markey: (28:27)
Oh, yes? I’m sorry.
Interviewer 2: (28:27)
Senator Markey: (28:27)
Are you with the press?
Interviewer 2: (28:27)
Senator Markey: (28:27)
I’ll get to you too.
Interviewer 2: (28:27)
Is that all right?
Senator Markey: (28:28)
Yes. [inaudible 00:28:28].
Interviewer 2: (28:28)
I’ll get you later.
Senator Markey: (28:28)
Questions? Thank you so much for coming out here today.