Last night, Senate Republican leadership tried to push through a vote on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act — despite overwhelming public opposition and without any of the hearings or debate that massive legislation that would strip coverage from millions of people should have. And while many news reports are focusing on Senator John McCain’s “no” vote as the tipping point in the repeal bill’s demise, let’s set the record straight: the real heroes of the health care fight are women. Here’s who we should be celebrating and thanking today:
Senator Mazie Hirono (HI)
Merriam-Webster should add Senator Hirono’s face to their entry for “national treasure.” Senator Hirono, who has stage 4 kidney cancer, has been steadfast in her fight to ensure that everyone has access to the health care they need. In her must-watch speech from the floor last night, she shared her own health care story and expressed her gratitude for health insurance to treat her cancer, while imploring her Republican colleagues to show compassion for the millions of people who could lose live-saving care. She deserves a standing ovation.
Senator Patty Murray (WA)
Senator Murray is a leading champion for women’s health and reproductive rights in the Senate and a fierce defender of the ACA. As Republicans have continued to use women’s health as a bargaining chip, constantly finding new ways to restrict abortion, birth control, and eliminate coverage of key preventive health services, Senator Murray has been there at every turn, fighting back.
Earlier this week, we felt her pain as Republicans voted for the Motion to Proceed to a vote on ACA repeal—without knowing or informing their Democratic colleagues of what the repeal bill would look like.
Watching Senators vote to take away our health care like: pic.twitter.com/wA3030U4ZF
— NWLC (@nwlc) July 25, 2017
And last night, as Senator Mike Enzi stood on the Senate floor mansplaining his arguments for ACA repeal and trying to shut down debate on the final bill, which was released at the last minute, Senator Murray was there to hold him accountable, urge him to answer questions, and to stop their shady process of trying to ram this bill through under the cloak of darkness. Thank you, Senator Murray.
Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Senator Susan Collins (ME)
Senators Murkowski and Collins both faced incredible pressure — and even threats and scare tactics — from their fellow Republicans and the Trump Administration to fall in line and vote to repeal the ACA. Yet, they were steadfast this week, opposing the Motion to Proceed on Tuesday and voting no on the repeal bill last night. They deserve a round of applause for standing strong in the face of that pressure to protect health care for their constituents and people across the country.
We The Resistance (that’s you!)
Women, particularly women of color, immigrant women, women with disabilities—shout out to the awesome ADAPT advocates who literally put their bodies on the line—and LGBTQ folks, have been at the frontlines of the resistance from the start. Without your calls, your emails, your protests, your questions at town halls, your conversations with friends and neighbors and co-workers and family members, your stories, this outcome would not have been possible. This fight may not be over, but this moment of victory belongs to all of us.
When we lead, when we organize, when we refuse to be sweet and silent and complacent, we can accomplish anything. Let’s build on this momentum and continue to show all those who seek to strip away our rights: we are powerful and we won’t. back. down.