U.S. Sen. Hirono votes against rule taking away veterans’ reproductive freedom

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February 7, 2018. Sen. Mazie Hirono. (file photo)

U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, voted against a Republican-led effort that would overrule the Department of Veterans Affairs’ interim rule on reproductive health care.

The interim rule, which was issued after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overruling Roe v. Wade, affirms the Department of Veterans Affairs’ legal authority to provide abortion services in cases of rape, incest and the life or health of the patient. 

The vote follows a recent press conference, where Hirono joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and six of her senate Democratic colleagues to express their opposition to the Republican effort.

“The Supreme Court’s disastrous Dobbs decision eliminated reproductive rights for almost 300,000 women veterans, many of whom live in states where abortion is illegal,” Hirono said during the press conference. 


“Now, Republicans want to overturn this common sense rule because they have such an obsession — that is the right word, obsession — with wanting to control and have power over our lives and to promote a nationwide abortion ban.”

In September, Hirono announced that following a push she led as a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed in a legal opinion that the Department of Veterans Affairs’ has the legal authority to provide abortion services in cases of rape, incest and the life or health of the patient. 

Earlier that month, Hirono also condemned Republican attacks on the Biden Administration’s landmark decision to allow the Veterans Health Administration to provide abortion care to veterans and their eligible dependents to protect the health and life of the woman and in cases of rape or incest. 

Last July, Hirono also called upon the Department of Veterans Affairs’ to take immediate administrative action to offer abortions and all abortion-related services to veterans and eligible dependents.


“They’re so obsessed with banning abortion that they would rather let veterans die — that’s right, they would rather let veterans die — than allow them this care, even in cases of rape, incest or to save her life,” Hirono said. “Our veterans and all Americans should not have to pay the price of the Republicans’ obsession.”

Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) also spoke at the press conference.

Hirono, a long-time champion for abortion access, was among legislators who sent  a letter to Danco Laboratories, a manufacturer of mifepristone, urging them to submit an application to the Food and Drug Administration to add miscarriage management to the medication’s label —which currently only includes medication abortion but can also be safely and legally used for miscarriage management.

In November, she also sent a letter to the FDA Commissioner encouraging the agency to defend Americans’ reproductive rights, and to consider steps to protect and expand access to medication abortion.


Last August, Senator Hirono also sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services urging concrete action to help meet President Biden’s goal of protecting and expanding access to medication abortion. 

Video of Senator Hirono’s remarks is available for download here.

A full transcript of Senator Hirono’s remarks is below and a link to download video is available here.

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