Lauren Underwood

The Supreme Court’s Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade - June 26, 2022

Lauren Underwood
June 26, 2022— Plainfield, Illinois
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Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin gave remarks regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade at a YMCA in Plainfield, Illinois. For Harris’ remarks, see

Good afternoon. Hello, Illinois. Hello, Plainfield. Thank you so much to our friends at the YMCA for hosting us. And thank all of you for being here to join me in welcoming the vice president of the United States of America to Illinois’s 14th Congressional District.

I am so proud that the vice president has chosen to come to our community to announce groundbreaking new federal commitments to end the maternal health crisis and empower women throughout all stages of pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care.

In Illinois, empowering women is a closely held value, and it’s a value that we share with our vice president. I have been so proud to see how she has continued to elevate the maternal health crisis as a priority as Vice President. There has never been an administration as dedicated to saving moms lives as the Biden-Harris administration, and we have Vice President Harris to take credit for that. Representation matters.

I’m glad to be joined by other leaders who have committed themselves to ending our nation’s maternal health crisis. Senator Dick Durbin, who, along with my esteemed colleague, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, made possible the yearlong expansion of postpartum Medicaid. And my former colleagues, Administrator Chiquita Brooks-Laure, Carol Johnson, and Undersecretary Gil Cisneros, who have long been valued partners in this work.

This is a room full of people dedicated to the mission of saving moms lives and ensuring every family can thrive. And yes, we are dedicated to protecting women’s fundamental freedoms to make decisions about their own bodies, their own lives, and their own futures. Reproductive freedom and maternal health are inextricably linked and today’s ruling ignores our stark reality that pregnancy in the US is deadlier than in any other high-income country. We won’t stand by silently. We are taking action to ensure women and families have access to healthcare and the support that they need and deserve. That includes the full spectrum of reproductive health services, including abortion.

This maternal health crisis affects too many of us, women who live in cities, in suburbs, those with and without higher education degrees, those who have private health insurance coverage, and those who don’t. Too many of us have stories of loved ones who have experienced trauma and loss during what should have been one of the most joyous times of their lives. Congresswoman Alma Adams and I both recognize that the black maternal health crisis has touched far too many women and families and communities, and so we co-founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus in 2019, and together we wrote the Momnibus, a sweeping package of 12 bills to address the key drivers of maternal mortality. And I was so honored to partner with then Senator Kamala Harris to introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act in 2020.

The Momnibus invests in empowering women at every stage of pregnancy. And through this work we’ve made tremendous progress. Much of the legislation has already passed the House and one Momnibus bill was signed into law, and that one is to support pregnant and postpartum veterans. President Biden signed it in November of 2021.

We also secured new funding for the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline and funding to expand obstetric care in rural communities. The Biden-Harris administration shares our sense of urgency, and I’m so pleased about these important commitments being announced today.

These new administrative actions will improve maternal care in this country and give women in Illinois greater confidence that they will be seen and heard during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period. They complement the progress we are building in Congress, progress that would not be possible without the leadership of Illinois’s distinguished senior Senator Dick Durbin.

Senator Durbin is the Senate Majority Leader. I’m sorry, the Senate Majority Whip, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the lead Senate sponsor of the critical maternal health legislation like the MOMMA’s Act, which would make sure that every state follows Illinois’ lead and extends postpartum Medicaid coverage to a full year.

Senator Durbin, thank you for all that you do to help Illinois moms, and all moms. It is now my honor to introduce Senator Dick Durbin.

Allen, Hugh. 2022. “Vice President Harris on the Supreme Court’s Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade Transcript | Rev.” Rev, June 26.

Underwood, Lauren. 2022. "The Supreme Court’s Decision To Overturn Roe V. Wade." In H. Wilson (Ed.), The Reference Shelf: Representative American Speeches, 2021-2022.