Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee who represents the West Side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, was in New York following the terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan. The following is Rep. Nadler’s prepared remarks for the Constitution Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 490, legislation to ban abortion at six weeks:
"Mr. Chairman, I am, frankly, appalled that the Subcommittee is taking time to discuss this bill today. The oath we each take as Members of Congress is to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States.' And nowhere should that oath be taken more seriously than in this Subcommittee. Yet we are using this valuable time discussing a bill that is flatly unconstitutional and actually strips away the constitutional rights of half this country’s population.
"But of course, this bill wouldn’t impact any of the seven men who sit on this subcommittee or 35 men who sit on the full Judiciary Committee. We will never be in the impossible situation of having the federal government tell us what health care choices we can and cannot make simply because of our gender. We will never need to exercise the constitutional right this bill would effectively strip away.
"Because make no mistake, the bill bans and criminalizes abortion at a point when most women don’t even know they are pregnant, effectively outlawing abortion in this country. That is clearly unconstitutional. My colleagues on the other side know that. They are well aware that similar bills at the state level have been struck down again and again. But that doesn’t matter to them.
"Ending abortion is their goal, and they have no shame about that. They want to jail physicians who perform abortions. They want to shame women and send them back into the shadows of back alleys, relegating them to second class citizens who cannot make their own health care decisions. That’s why we are here talking about banning abortion at six weeks with no exemption for survivors of rape and incest and an inadequate exemption to protect the lives of mothers.
"I want my colleagues on the other side to know: this isn’t a game. These are women’s constitutional rights we are talking about. But the majority continues to treat the lives and health of women like a game, using women’s rights and women’s bodies to score political points and placate their base. Today we’re banning abortion, but the majority doesn’t want you to have no-cost contraception. They won’t fund programs for family planning.
"And if you do get pregnant, there’s no support for you either. As we saw in the health care bill they passed earlier this year, the Republicans want to end requirements that insurance covers maternity care. They won’t support paid family leave or expanding affordable child care options for families. And this from the party that cloaks itself in language about 'life' and 'family values.'
"Republicans in Congress and this administration must end the constant assault on the constitutional rights and health care of women in this country."