(Washington, D.C.) – On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. – an OBGYN responsible for delivering more than 5,000 babies – served as Ranking Member for a U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) hearing on abortion laws following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and returning the issue of abortion to state governments.
During his opening statement, Senator Marshall said, in part,
“Overturning Roe v. Wade was a historic occasion that signaled a new beginning for millions of unborn babies. Now, the future of saving lives rests with the American people and their elected officials in the states. But this work is not finished. Family planning opportunities need to be expanded, and mothers need greater access to services that will support them and their baby throughout and after pregnancy…Women with miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies will be treated in every state without exception. Life of the mom will continue to be honored, and Plan B remains over the counter. Republicans and Democrats must work together and continue to fight for more and earlier access to prenatal care and proper nutrition, especially in rural and urban settings, as well as child care and attending to all the social challenges a young single or married mom faces…I look forward to bipartisan cooperation, to being part of the solution to maternity issues, which have all precipitated prior to this Supreme Court decision…”
Brandi Swindell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Stanton Healthcare, testified before the Committee about her work providing life-affirming maternal and infant health care for women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. Ms. Swindell shared the story of her organization’s success in providing alternatives to abortion and compassionate care to women across America.
Additionally, Senator Marshall delivered a closing statement to conclude the hearing. Senator Marshall said, in part,
“Number one, I want to condemn all violence, vandalism, threats, and attacks. There’s been at least 40 attacks of violence and vandalism against pregnancy centers and churches, like in Kansas in Overland Park at the Church of Ascension…I want to point out my concern that, last week, the White House hosted Kansas legislators in an attempt to interfere with the Kansas Value Them Both Amendment. The Biden White House has created enough hardships for Kansans…we don’t want them forcing their radical values on the people of Kansas…I’ve spent my entire professional career fighting to protect the life of moms and babies in the delivery room, in the emergency room, and in the halls of congress. Protecting their lives will continue to be a priority for me…I’m committed to continuing to work across the aisle to provide these services and to improve our mortality rates. Indeed, abortion is not the solution.”
Senator Marshall practiced medicine in Great Bend, KS for more than 25 years. As an OB/GYN, he delivered more than 5,000 babies, giving him a deep appreciation and passion for the sanctity of life and an intimate understanding of the healthcare system. During his time in medicine, Senator Marshall was more than a physician. For 25 years, he was a business owner who signed a paycheck every other week for a practice that grew from 5 people to eventually more than 300.
In April 2022, Senator Marshall questioned Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, about the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce safety protocols for chemical abortion drugs. You may click HERE for video of Senator Marshall’s questioning.
In June 2022, Senator Marshall offered an amendment to the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Landmark Advancements (FDASLA) Act that would require FDA-approved chemical abortion drugs to be prescribed only after a patient has been diagnosed using a medical imaging device. Senator Marshall’s amendment would have ensured appropriate use and informed consent before receiving abortion drugs. The amendment was modeled after Senator Marshall’s Ultrasound Informed Consent Act.
Upon entering the U.S. Senate in January 2021, Senator Marshall’s first bill was the Protecting Life in Crisis Act. This legislation would prohibit any funds that are authorized or appropriated for the purposes of preventing, preparing for, or responding to the COVID–19 pandemic, domestically and internationally, from going toward abortions or abortion coverage. Additionally, Senator Marshall is an original cosponsor of the following pro-life bills:
- Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act: This bill requires that appropriate care be given to any child who survives an attempted abortion. The bill also allows federal murder charges to be brought against anyone who intentionally kills such a born-alive child.
- Prohibiting Federal Emergencies for Abortion Act: The bill would prohibit the declaration of a Federal emergency relating to abortion.
- Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act: This bill would exclude elective abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from the Title X family planning program.
- Life at Conception Act: This bill ensures that current right to life protections granted by the 14th Amendment are truly guaranteed to all human beings, including unborn children at all stages of development. The Constitution already guarantees the right to life in the 14th Amendment, this bill simply enforces the law and ensures those same protections are extended to the most vulnerable members of our society.
- Defund Planned Parenthood Act: This bill would ensure that federal tax dollars are not going to Planned Parenthood or any other organizations that perform abortions. Funds for these services would continue to be provided to entities that are eligible and not performing abortions, such as community health centers.
- No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act: This bill would codify the Hyde Amendment, prohibiting Federal funding for elective abortion, as a permanent, government-wide prohibition. It also would restrict Obamacare’s premium tax credits from being used for elective abortion coverage on the exchanges.
- Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act: This bill prohibits abortions after 20-weeks, a point at which research has shown unborn children feel pain.
- Down Syndrome Protection Act: This bill prohibits the performance of an abortion being sought due to the unborn child having Down syndrome.
- Protecting Life and Integrity in Research Act: This bill would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from conducting or supporting any research involving human fetal tissue that is obtained pursuant to an induced abortion.
- Support and Value Expectant (SAVE) Moms and Babies Act: This bill would prevent labeling changes for already approved abortion drugs; prevent providers from dispensing these drugs remotely, by mail, or via telemedicine; and prevent the FDA from approving any new chemical abortion drugs.
- Women’s Public Health and Safety Act: This bill clarifies the authority of states to exclude providers of elective abortion like Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program. Planned Parenthood receives about half a billion dollars in tax-payer funding per year, most of which comes from Medicaid.
- Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA): Currently, only 11 states ban abortions that are sought on the basis of sex. PRENDA would combat the worrying trend of sex-selective abortion in America by making it a federal crime to abort a child based on his or her gender.
- Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act: This bill would require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 15 miles of their practices. The bill also requires abortion centers to meet state-mandated requirements for ambulatory surgery centers.
- Parental Notification and Intervention Act: This bill prohibits a person or organization from performing, facilitating, or assisting in the performance of an abortion on an un-emancipated minor without first complying with parental notification requirements.
- Protecting Life in Foreign Assistance Act: The bill would codify an expanded version of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy, also known as the Mexico City Policy. Specifically, the bill would ensure that no funds be made available to foreign non-governmental organizations, multi-lateral nonprofits, and quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations that perform abortions, counsel for abortion, lobby for abortion policies or expanded access, or provide funding or resources for any entity, including domestic non-governmental organizations and non-profits, that perform abortions abroad.
Senator Marshall’s Full Opening Statement as Prepared:
Thank you Chair Murray.
Overturning Roe v. Wade was a historic occasion that signaled a new beginning for millions of unborn babies. Now, the future of saving lives rests with the American people and their elected officials in the states. But this work is not finished. Family planning opportunities need to be expanded, and mothers need greater access to services that will support them and their baby throughout and after pregnancy.
I’m looking forward to informing the American public why the Supreme Court’s decision is a positive development for our country and setting the medical record straight in the face of non-fact based, pro-abortion fearmongering.
I appreciate Ranking Member Burr for yielding me the opportunity to lead this hearing – to use my knowledge and background as an OBGYN who delivered a baby nearly every day for over 25 years, as well as held the hands of hundreds of woman suffering miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, infertility, and life threatening obstetrical complications.
Having delivered more than 5,000 babies and started and supervised multiple family planning clinics, I’d like to dispel several myths being heaved at the public.
Myth 1: Overturning Roe is a federal ban on abortion: Overturning Roe sends the issue to elected state officials, allowing the citizens of each state to address a highly emotional issue via their elected officials. Nevertheless, we will hear this false battle cry multiple times this morning.
Myth 2: Women will not have access to abortion: Even the New York Times reported after overturning Roe, abortions will decrease by only 14 percent. It’s also worth noting that after Texas passed its heart beat law, two studies showed that abortions fell around 10 percent. After Roe, 27 states and DC continue to be largely unaffected, while 19 states will have protective limits. The other states will most likely have something in between.
Myth 3: Overturning Roe means health care professionals and hospitals can NOT treat women with miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, or when the mom’s life is endangered: This is all scare tactics, preying on the emotions of people. Listen, every state abortion law triggered by overturning Roe includes an exception to save the life of the mother. Treating miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies are not the same as performing abortions.
In fact, no abortion law in any state in America prevents treatment for women with ectopic pregnancies and/or other life-threatening conditions. I remember my time in residency when we were taught to “never let the sun set on an ectopic pregnancy.” Every pro-life physician I know of – including myself – has always and will always care for these clinical conditions, and there are no laws that prevent such. This is a total fabricated myth.
Myth 4: I quote members across the aisle on this myth, “overturning Roe is devastating to women’s health”: Members will imply today carrying a baby to term is more dangerous than an abortion. So, using their logic, should we abort every baby? Should we stop all childbearing? Presenting abortion as the ‘life-saving solution’ for women facing challenging pregnancies is a warped view of health care. It denies the modern medical science that can bring both mother and baby safely through even a high risk pregnancy.
Myth 5: Americans don’t support limits on abortion: A recent poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds while 61% of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances in the first trimester of a pregnancy, 65% said abortion should usually be illegal in the second trimester, and 80% said that about the third trimester.
And from a June Monmouth poll, only 36% of Americans support abortions as ALWAYS legal, while only 30 percent believe it should be legal with limitations.
Myth 6: Many claim the United States fell behind our international peers on abortion access: Only 7 nations allow abortion beyond 20 weeks, including China and North Korea.
The final myth: Republicans wants to end contraception and family planning: Nothing could be further from the truth. In my first year of residency, after I delivered several babies from 13 year olds, I made a commitment to provide access to contraception and early prenatal care, regardless of a woman’s ability to pay in any community I practiced. And that’s why I set up and volunteered at prenatal and family planning clinics in residency, and this is why I oversaw three community health centers in rural Kansas, and accepted all comers into our prenatal clinic. And this is why, every year we fight for robust funding for community health centers and health departments.
So what does obstetrical care look like after Roe?
We’ve dispelled many of the myths. Women with miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies will be treated in every state without exception. Life of the mom will continue to be honored, and Plan B remains over the counter.
Republicans and Democrats must work together and continue to fight for more and earlier access to prenatal care and proper nutrition, especially in rural and urban settings, as well as child care and attending to all the social challenges a young single or married mom faces.
This is why I co-led the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2018, and more recently, we worked with everyone here on this committee passing legislation, the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act which was also recently signed into law. And, this is why I also lead annual appropriations letters supporting vital maternal health programs at HHS and the WIC program.
While centers such as the Stanton center, which you will soon learn about, already outnumber abortion clinics 4 to 1 in this country, we can and will do more to help such clinics. I look forward to bipartisan cooperation, to being part of the solution to maternity issues, which have all precipitated prior to this Supreme Court decision.
Finally, we recognize family planning and access to contraception will be as important as ever. As I have in the past, I will continue to support robust funding for community health centers and the county health departments like I once volunteered at and oversaw.
Thank you, Madam Chair, and I yield back.