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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Today’s Vote To Advance The Right To Contraception Act

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on today’s vote to advance the Right to Contraception Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Let me begin with a disturbing statistic. According to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in five U.S. adults worries that the right to contraception is under threat.

One in five U.S. adults – that’s more people than live in Florida or Texas or California. In the same poll, less than half of the adults said they felt the right to use birth control was secure.

Americans’ uncertainty about using birth control is one of the many shameful consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade. This is the mess Donald Trump and the MAGA Supreme Court and the Republican-led Senate have created.

Today, we live in a country where not only tens of millions of women have been robbed of their reproductive freedoms – we also live in a country where tens of millions more worry about something as basic as birth control. That’s utterly medieval. It’s sickening. It should never happen here in the United States, but because of Donald Trump and the hard-right, it’s reality.

Today, the Senate has the chance to protect reproductive rights by advancing the Right to Contraception Act. I thank my good friends Senators Hirono and Markey for championing this bill.

I thank every Senator and every advocate and every concerned citizen who has raised their voice supporting this bill.

In a perfect world, a bill saying you can access birth control without government interference should not be necessary, but given the erosion of reproductive rights in America today, it is absolutely vital. So, I will be proud to vote yes today. I urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same.

Sometimes the right answer is the obvious one: if Republicans truly support protecting access to birth control, then they should vote yes on moving this bill forward.

Now, we’ve heard a number of very anxious arguments from the other side against moving forward on the Right to Contraception Act. We’ve heard that it radically expands access to abortion. We’ve been told it stomps all over religious liberties. We’ve heard that this issue is much ado about nothing.

At best, these retorts are feeble and predictable, and at worst they’re dangerous. So, let’s set the record straight.

To those who claim the Right to Contraception Act undermines religious liberties, if anything the opposite is true. This bill absolutely protects religious liberties.

There is nothing in the text forcing anyone to provide contraception if it contradicts their own beliefs. Should this bill pass, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would remain the law of the land.

To those who say – outlandishly – that this bill expands abortion access: that is false, full stop. I invite Americans to read this bill for themselves. There is nothing – nothing – in this bill about abortion. To suggest this bill expands abortion is vulgar fear mongering, plain and simple.

The reason we hear these claims is because my Republican colleagues don’t want to say the quiet part out loud: the GOP, the Republican party here in the Senate, has been totally captured by the radical MAGA right, which is totally opposed to protecting reproductive rights – even birth control, which, of course, ninety percent of Americans support. Make no mistake: if Republicans get into power, the MAGA right will push for a national abortion ban and the total elimination of reproductive care.

Finally, of course, there’s the more devious claim that the Right to Contraception Act is much ado about nothing. That it’s unnecessary. That birth control could never possibly fall under risk.

Well, remember: people said the same thing about Roe, that it could never be overturned. And then, tragically, unfortunately, it was, because Donald Trump and the Republican Senate filled the Supreme Court with MAGA Radicals who followed through with the hard-right’s goal of eliminating freedom of choice.

And who knows how far the hard-right will go? A few years ago it was Roe. A few years from now it could be something else. Justice Thomas himself opened the door to undoing protections for birth control in his dissenting opinion in Dobbs. We are kidding ourselves if we think the hard-right is done with their attacks on reproductive rights.

And let’s be perfectly clear: attacks against birth control aren’t theoretical bugaboos. It’s already happening at the state level. To those who argue federal protections for birth control are unnecessary, go ask the people of Virginia what they think, after their Republican governor vetoed – vetoed – a bill that would have protected contraceptives at the state level.

Go ask the people of Nevada what they think, after their Republican governor also vetoed a bill to protect access to birth control.

To those who say birth control will never fall at risk, go ask the people of Arizona, or Florida, or Idaho, or Iowa, or Missouri. In each of these states, Republican governors or Republican state legislators are on record blocking protections for birth control access in one form or another.

So, let there be no mistake: in the aftermath of Roe’s demise, the threat to birth control is very, very real. And that is why it so important for the Senate to act.

This is a simple bill and a simple vote. If you believe all women deserve to have contraception, then you should vote for this bill. That’s all there is to it.