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Murray wants GOP help in blocking Supreme Court pick

In this Oct. 18, 2017, file photo Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking member, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, talk before the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
In this Oct. 18, 2017, file photo Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking member, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, talk before the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Exactly one year ago, three Republican senators voted with their Democratic colleagues to block the president’s health care proposal. Now, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is asking her Republican peers to do the same, this time blocking the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

“That happened because people across the country knew what was at stake and spoke up – despite how long the odds seemed,” Murray said during a 16-minute speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. “That is what we need now – and I am confident we can succeed again if people who care show it by speaking up.”

Murray shared several stories of women and what access to reproductive health care meant for them. She told the story of a friend who received a botched abortion because she couldn’t access safe services. The incident left her unable to have children.

“I saw my friend hurt, frightened, alone, and unable to get the care she needed because someone else’s beliefs mattered more under our laws than her health and her future,” Murray said. “That impacted me a lot, and has stayed with me to this day.”

The appointment of Kavanaugh threatens women’s reproductive rights, Murray argued.

“The threat to women’s reproductive rights is frighteningly real,” she said. “It is real because unless Democrats and Republicans come together, President Trump will follow through on his promise to overturn Roe (v. Wade).”

Reproductive freedom allows women to participate equally in the U.S., Murray added.

“And – while I can’t adequately express how frustrating it is to have to assert this in the 21st century – we are stronger today because women in the United States are treated more equally than we were in the 1970s,” she said.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, hasn’t expressed an opinion on the nominee.

“I don’t have a role in judicial nominations as a House member, but as always I’m looking for judges who will follow the Constitution, regardless of what the ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ view might be,” Herrera Beutler said in an email.

She did not clarify if she believed Kavanaugh was a judge who follows the Constitution.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., did not return a request for comment by press deadline, but her initial reaction to Kavanaugh’s nomination expressed concern for his previous decisions on health care and net neutrality. She characterized her concern as “grave.”

“Anyone who says President Trump isn’t applying an anti-choice litmus test in this nomination – or thinks it’s unclear where President Trump’s allegiance lies when it comes to women’s health – should take a look at what he’s said and done,” Murray said. “Unless they willfully ignore the facts, they will quickly realize that the president who, far beyond any modern president, has championed the anti-choice cause has found exactly what he is looking for in Judge Kavanaugh: a fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.”


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