Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Presides over Hearing on Threats to Reproductive Rights

June 4, 2019
Press Release
States are eroding rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, today presided over a hearing on “Threats to Reproductive Rights in America.”

In his opening statement, Congressman Cohen said:

“More than 45 years ago, the United States Supreme Court recognized that women must have the right to control their own bodies, including by having the right to decide when to have children and when to terminate a pregnancy. More than 25 years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed that right after years of sustained opposition.

“Now, in the year 2019, the rights of women across this nation are under attack like never before. It started with a flurry of laws meant to scare and shame women and to regulate abortion providers out of existence…

“Many states have dropped the pretense altogether that they are somehow trying to protect women. This year alone, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have enacted laws banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which occurs approximately six weeks into a pregnancy – before many women even know they are pregnant…

“We cannot afford to go back. I would not presume to know what it is like for a woman to live in a world where she has to participate in a crime in order to end a pregnancy that she does not want, or cannot afford to have.”

See the entire opening statement here. See Congressman Cohen’s questioning of witnesses here and here.

Witnesses at Tuesday’s hearing:

  • Dr. Owen Phillips, Memphis, Tennessee-based obstetrician-gynecologist;
  • Busy Philipps, actor and activist;
  • Jennifer Dalven, Director, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project;
  • Dr. Yashica Robinson, Alabama-based obstetrician-gynecologist; 
  • Professor Melissa Murray, New York University School of Law;
  • H.K. Gray, activist, Youth Testify;
  • Christina Bennett, Member, National Black Pro-Life Coalition and Communications Director for the Family Institute of Connecticut; and
  • Melissa Ohden, anti-abortion activist

See the entire hearing at