Murkowski Reiterates Strong Support for Codification of Roe v. Wade

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today reiterated her strong support for the codification of abortion rights as established by Roe v. Wade (1973) and affirmed by Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). While urging the preservation of those important rights for women, Murkowski will vote against S. 4132, the Women’s Health Protection Act, which has been described as codifying Roe v. Wade, but in reality goes much further—nullifying state and religious freedom laws across the country in the process.

“I strongly support women’s reproductive freedoms, including the right to abortion established by Roe and Casey. I also believe in limited government and an individual’s liberty to make choices about their own health.

“Consistent with Roe and Casey, I support reasonable limits on abortion services related to maternal health. I oppose late-term abortion, as long as there are clear and workable exceptions in the case of rape, incest or when a woman’s life is threatened. I also oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and oppose any requirement for individuals to provide these services against their religious beliefs.

“Congress should codify the important protections from Roe and Casey into law as they currently exist. That’s why, in February, Senator Collins and I introduced our Reproductive Choice Act, which would prevent women’s reproductive choices from being weakened or eliminated. Our bill would reassure women that the rights they have relied on for almost 50 years will continue to be the law of the land.

“The legislation before the Senate today, the Women’s Health Protection Act, goes well beyond the precedent established in Roe and Casey. It does not include the Hyde amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being spent on abortions—and has been the law almost as long as Roe. It does not include conscience protections for healthcare providers that refuse to perform abortions based on religious beliefs. It explicitly overrides the Religious Freedom Restoration Act for the first time. It also allows late-term abortions without any notable restrictions.

“Instead of taking yet another failed vote on a wholly partisan measure, I urge Democrats and Republicans alike to recognize that what Senator Collins and I have offered is in line with the views of a strong majority of Americans—who support a woman’s right to choose but believe that legal abortion should include reasonable limitations.”  

In Alaska, courts have interpreted abortion rights as protected under the State Constitution, so the repeal of Roe v. Wade would have no immediate effect.

Details About S. 3713, the Reproductive Choice Act:

  • Would prohibit states from imposing an “undue burden” on the ability of a woman to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability;
  • Would continue to allow states to enact regulations to further the health or safety of a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy, while clarifying that unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a “substantial obstacle” to a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy constitute an “undue burden”;
  • Would continue to permit states to restrict the ability to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability, except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the woman as consistent with Roe and Casey; and
  • Would not have any effect on laws regarding conscience protections, including laws that protect health care providers who refuse to provide abortions for moral or religious reasons.


Related Issues: Health