Three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court has issued its monumental ruling ending the nationwide right to an abortion, New York Democrats are taking a leading role in sounding the alarm from Capitol Hill.
Two members of Congress from Manhattan — opponents in a primary next month — are even holding back-to-back hearings on abortion access.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney kicked off one of those hearings Wednesday, asking in her opening remarks, “Do we want a country where our children have fewer rights than we did?”
Maloney chairs the House Oversight committee, which heard testimony from state lawmakers and activists about the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court toppling Roe v. Wade.
“It’s a horror. Women are upset. They are scared,” Maloney said in an interview. “We will not back down, we will not give up.”
Another hearing is set for Thursday, this one led by another New Yorker — Rep. Jerry Nadler, who chairs the House’s judiciary committee.
“Birth control is on the line and I think we want to make that clear,” he said in a brief interview ahead of the hearing.
Notably, back home, these two veteran lawmakers are facing off in the Democratic primary in New York’s redrawn 12th District.
Both dismissed questions whether the hearings are an example of one-upmanship amid their election fight.
Nadler said he did not know Maloney was holding her hearing. Meanwhile Maloney said, “It’s a priority of Democrats. We’re all working on it. It is an absolute priority.”
Other lawmakers are amping up legislative pressure.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand joined with other Democrats in unveiling a bill to bar laws restricting travel across state lines for abortion-related healthcare.
“This is not about one medical procedure. This is literally about whether you are an equal citizen under the law under our Constitution,” she said.
Of course, while Democrats may introduce and tee up votes on bills protecting abortion access, such legislation stands little chance in the evenly split Senate. But with polls showing a majority of Americans supporting abortion rights, this is a way to keep the issue alive ahead of the November elections.
The primary election is Aug. 23.