Merkley: ‘This is an intrusive overreach of the federal government’

EUGENE, Ore. — Earlier Wednesday, the Senate held a vote on whether to codify Roe v Wade and protect the right to an abortion nationwide.

“This is an intrusive overreach of the federal government trying to put itself into the bedroom and the examination room, and we have to say hell no,” said Senator Jeff Merkley.

The Women’s Health Protection Bill failed along party lines but was expected to after Democrats didn’t have the number of votes needed to gain any ground.

In Oregon, access to abortions have been codified into state law since 2017, when access to reproductive healthcare coverage was expanded.

Meanwhile, 13 other states, including neighboring Idaho, would immediately ban abortion if the landmark Supreme Court case is overturned.

We asked Senator Ron Wyden to see where he stands on the issue, and how Oregonians would be affected.

“With respect to Oregon, it’s very important for people to understand the implications,” Wyden said. “Oregon, in fact, has strong laws that are the books now. I’m very glad that we do.”

We also asked Wyden if Oregon taxpayer money would go toward supporting a potential surge of people from out of state seeking reproductive healthcare.

He responded by saying he’s looking into national programs that could offset those costs.

We spoke with Senator Merkley shortly before the vote.

With the bill not expected to pass, the Senator explained what Democrats were hoping to gain with the vote.

“In a democracy, constituents need to know where their representative stands,” Merkley said. “If you don’t take a vote, people don’t know. And I’ve been very concerned the Senate doesn’t take enough votes on enough issues to help their constituents know where their members stand. And certainly, this is one where we have to be absolutely clear.”

Senator Merkley also felt that this issue will be significant for the upcoming midterms and may mobilize voters on both sides of the issue.