Press Release

Welch Blasts Republicans’ Continued Assault on Reproductive Freedoms at Judiciary Committee Hearing 

Mar 21, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week, U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.), slammed the Supreme Court and Republican-led state legislatures for their continued assault on reproductive freedoms, including their unwillingness to protect the rights of families who need in vitro fertilization (IVF). The Senator directly addressed remarks made by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pertaining to individual privacy rights and decisions regarding bodily autonomy. Senator Welch also highlighted the potential impact of recent court decisions on the affordability of IVF, which is already cost-prohibitive and inequitable for many families. 

“Just a comment about this decision by the Supreme Court in Dobbs, which I think was profoundly cynical: based on ‘originalism’—and that’s in the mind of the Supreme Court Justices who wanted to overturn what had been settled doctrine. And the second thing that’s so disturbing about this—and I’m sorry Senator Cruz isn’t here—the idea that the privacy rights that were enshrined in Roe v. Wade; that value that we placed constitutionally on certain realms of decision-making that belonged to the individual person is challenged and then is turned over to a political process.” said Senator Welch

“Senator Hirono said it best: you make your own decision. You respect the decision another person makes, because that’s her right. That’s all upside down now. And it’s unleashed this whirlwind where states are having bans from the moment of conception…where IVF is threatened, where every right that we’ve had is thrown into turmoil,” Senator Welch continued, “And it’s all on the basis of the Supreme Court rejecting the notion that there are certain spheres where it is the individual who has the freedom to make the decision that is best for her, and not impose her decision on others. And we’re reaping the whirlwind.” 

Senator Welch also raised the issue of how the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision impacts families’ ability to afford and access IVF. 

Watch the Senator’s full remarks here

In the wake of the Alabama State Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos created during the IVF process are “children” under state law, Senator Welch joined the Access to Family Building Act, introduced by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), which would establish a statutory right to access IVF for all Americans who need it to start or grow a family by protecting  access to IVF and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) nationwide. The bill has 46 Senate cosponsors, despite Senate Republicans blocking the legislation from being passed in February. 

In January, Senator Welch joined several Senate Democratic colleagues at an abortion rights briefing ahead of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to discuss Senate Democrats’ fight to pass federal legislation to protect reproductive rights. Senator Welch highlighted Vermont’s action to enshrine personal reproductive liberty in its state constitution and emphasized the significant impact of anti-abortion legislation introduced and enacted by many Republican-leaning states after the Dobbs decision. 

Senator Welch is a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that creates federal rights for patients and providers to protect abortion access and establishes federal protections against medically unnecessary restrictions that undermine Americans’ access to health care and intrude upon personal decision-making.