Representative Veronica Escobar in “Face the Nation”, June 25, 2023

The following is a transcript of an interview with U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar, Democrat of Texas, which aired on “Face the Nation” on June 25, 2023.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s now been a year since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and political dissent over abortion rights continues to grow. We recently discussed the topic with Republican presidential candidates on this show, but today we turn to Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, co-chair of President Biden’s re-election bid and she joins us. from El Paso. Hello, congressman. It’s been 50 years since 1973 and that decision, but in that time Congress passed no protections for access to abortion, even when Democrats controlled both houses, even when the presidents were Democrats. We are now at this point where our CBS News poll shows that 53% of Democrats feel your party is not doing enough on the issue of abortion. Why do Democrats think this is a winning question for the party when they haven’t been able to do so for so long?

REPRESENTING. VERONICA ESCOBAR: Well, Margaret, House Democrats passed the Women’s Health Care Protection Act. We did it at the last two sessions of Congress when we had a majority. But as you know, and as the American people know, we didn’t have a big enough majority in the Senate. In the Senate because of the filibuster, the Senate failed to act on the protection of access and the freedom of women to have access to abortion care. But it’s really important that we look at what’s happened since Roe v. Wade was overruled by the Republican-controlled Supreme Court. We have seen 23 million women lose access to reproductive health care. We have seen 18 states enact tough abortion bans. And we’ve also seen every Republican candidate voice support for a nationwide federal abortion ban. We cannot go in that direction. And that is why these upcoming elections are of crucial importance.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But even when there was unified control, it wasn’t delivered. When you look at what’s happening right now, half of those polled by CBS say access to abortion has become more restricted over the past year, as you just detailed. So we know that President Biden is taking these executive actions and orders. Why isn’t there more popular mobilization at the state level? If all the interest of the court decision was that it returns to the United States?

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: We saw the popular mobilization at the state level, we saw the scene saying:

MARGARET BRENNAN: You say you lose the argument, though.


MARGARET BRENNAN: But, you just detail this state by state and many places, you lose that point.

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: Well, states are doing everything they can and grassroots organizations and women across the country are working to put in place protections at the current constitutional level of the state. But the challenge we will face if Republicans retain control of the House and take control of the Senate or the White House is that we would see tougher and more severe national restrictions than what we see today. So we have a very – we have a huge challenge ahead, in the sense that women’s reproductive freedoms continue to be curtailed. And the only way to win that is to win an election, making sure to both turn the tide and regain control, and elect a wide enough margin, filibuster-proof majority, or senators ready to raise the majority to protect women and we’ve got to maintain the White House.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley recently participated in this program and she said that the candidates don’t tell the truth to the American people, the Republicans and the Democrats she puts in this bucket. She said there’s, you know, there’s no consensus or vote for either party to legalize or outlaw abortion completely, listen to what she has says:

NIKKI HALEY SOT: So let’s be honest with the American people and say, find a national consensus. Let’s agree, you know, to get rid of late abortion. Let’s agree that we need more adoptions. Let’s agree that we need accessible contraception. Let’s agree that mothers should not be imprisoned or given the death penalty for abortion.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn’t she right, there are smaller issues related to abortion that you can find consensus on?

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: The national consensus, Margaret, is that 80% of Americans disagree with the overturning of Roe v. Wade-

MARGARET BRENNAN: But in terms of what you could actually get through Congress.

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: Well, again, we have Democrats who passed the Protecting Women’s Health Care at Home Act —

MARGARET BRENNAN: In the Chamber. Yes only in the house.

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: – And the challenge in the Senate is that you need a supermajority. You-

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s true. Exactly.

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: – need 60 votes, right? This is why we must win the elections next November. And in addition, we must keep the White House because there is only one person who will be at the polls next November. And it’s President Biden, who has promised and pledged to fight for women’s reproductive freedom, who – make no mistake about it, as much as Nikki Haley is talking about finding consensus here and there. The main thing is–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, preventing women from being prosecuted, like, the death penalty, I mean, you have to understand that, why not pass legislation on that front?

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: Can you imagine that–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn’t it worth it?

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: That’s theirs, that’s where they want to allow–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, she’s saying that we need to pass a law to prevent that at the national level.

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: Well, I – my point of view, and I think the vast majority of Americans’ point of view is that we want the protections of Roe v. Wade be reinstated. 80% and in fact, even though–



MARGARET BRENNAN: Protection up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. This is your defined position. I know that’s what was in the Protection Act, but specifically, that’s what you approve of?

REPRESENTING. ESCOBAR: Roe v. Wade is essentially protecting a woman’s right to have access to abortion. And what we’re seeing in states like mine in Texas, where the rollbacks have happened and the bans are happening, is that even in cases where women’s health is at risk, politicians don’t care not really about the woman’s health.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congresswoman, thank you for coming and for championing this cause, we’ll be back in a moment.

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