U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Letters From Ben


They Won’t Stop With Abortion

Dear Fellow Marylanders,

This week, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and dozens of House members introduced legislation that would ban abortions nationwide. A federal ban. This would overturn the will of people in states like Maryland.

For years, Republicans voiced their dissent for the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by saying that the right to an abortion should be left to the states to decide. When the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June, the cheers of “let the states decide” were the loudest of them all.

Sixty-one percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances, according to recent polling. Such medical decisions should be made in consultation with a doctor and not state or federal government officials. The will of the people of Maryland, and other states, should count for something, too.

With the introduction of a federal ban in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, every lawmaker who cheered Dobbs and said the “states should decide” must now be held accountable.

Without exaggeration, the federal ban on abortion access introduced this week would trample over the will of Marylanders. Our state has long been a leader in guaranteeing individuals the right to make the best health care decisions for themselves. Maryland voters approved a referendum 30 years ago codifying such reproductive rights and lawmakers in Annapolis have taken recent actions to expand abortion care and allow more providers to offer these essential health care services.

Abortion is a standard part of health care. Bans and criminalization will not stop abortion; they only will make it more dangerous and limit access to those with the means to travel or work around the law.

Republicans say they would prioritize a vote on their draconian legislation to enact a nationwide abortion ban, if they win back the majority in either the House or Senate.

They won’t stop with abortion. Justice Clarence Thomas, now the most senior Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, in his concurrence of the Dobbs decision, chillingly called for the court to examine other long-held precedents and constitutional rights, such as the right to have birth control, same-sex relations, or to enter into a same-sex marriage. 

Right now, Senate Republicans are delaying a vote on the Marriage Equality Act, which would protect marriage equality for same-sex couples, and yet we are supposed to believe that it won’t be next on the chopping block. We cannot even get 10 Republican senators to support removing the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. Thirty-eight states have already ratified the constitutional amendment and the House has twice passed a measure to eliminate the arbitrary deadline.

Congress – and the Supreme Court – cannot continue down a path of turning back the clock and revoking the civil rights of Americans. Our constitutional duty is to protect the rights of our citizens under the rule of law.

I will do all I can to block a national abortion ban and all of these virulent attacks on the basic rights of Americans. Congress must act to affirm the right to choose and codify reproductive rights protections in statute. Women in Maryland, and everywhere around our country, should have the same rights and every person in this country should have the same autonomy over their body to decide if and when they become a parent.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts on this topic and others. Or use my website to share your opinion.  


    Ben Cardin