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Thank you to Senators Reed and Whitehouse for voting “no” and standing up for the people of Rhode Island

(Providence, RI) — Today, instead of addressing the spread of COVID-19 and its ongoing health and economic consequences, Republicans in the U.S. Senate have shamefully rushed to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, who could threaten our health and rights for generations, to the U.S. Supreme Court. With more than 225,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 and over 8.5 million infected with the virus, Republicans in the U.S. Senate have made their priorities clear: ramming through this nominee is more important than our health and economic security. 

Rhode Island Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse stood with Senate Democrats to vote “no” on Barrett’s confirmation.

Statement from Amanda Skinner, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island: 

“Republicans in the U.S. Senate have made their priorities clear by rushing to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee only days before the presidential election and more than 200 days since passing meaningful COVID-19 relief. Americans deserved a say in filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s vacancy on the court — tonight’s vote is a disgrace to her legacy and disrespectful to the more than 225,000 people who have died during this global pandemic waiting for Republicans in Washington to act.

“By confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the Senate has put health care access and our fundamental freedoms at risk. Judge Barrett’s record and views are clear: her confirmation to the Supreme Court poses a direct threat to our reproductive health and rights, to the Affordable Care Act, LGBTQ+ rights, and so much more. In her confirmation hearings, Judge Barrett declared that Roe v. Wade is not “well settled” — making it clear that, in her opinion, Roe can be reconsidered.  With 17 abortion cases just one step from the Supreme Court, Barrett’s hostility to reproductive rights could have a grave impact on abortion access in America. Access to abortion is hanging by a thread across the country, and for too many people — especially people with low incomes facing barriers to basic preventive health care and Black and Brown communities forced to navigate a legacy of systemic racism and discriminatory policies — the promise of Roe is already meaningless because abortion is inaccessible. 

“Nationally, three out of four Americans wanted the Senate to prioritize COVID relief, not push through Trump’s lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Across the country, millions of people are already voting for our next president — instead of waiting to listen to the will of the people, Republicans in the Senate insisted on denying Americans their voice and corrupting our federal courts for generations to come.

“While we condemn the U.S. Senate’s hasty confirmation of Judge Barrett, we are grateful to Senators Reed and Whitehouse for standing with the people of Rhode Island by voting 'no' and defending our health and our rights. Although it is clear that Judge Barrett’s confirmation to our nation’s highest court is a threat to reproductive freedom everywhere, we will continue to fight with our champions here in Rhode Island and in Washington to safeguard the right to safe, legal abortion, protect access to health care, and defend our most fundamental rights.”