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

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

For years, as the hard-right had set their sights on Roe v. Wade, many of us kept hearing the same thing again and again and again: Roe can’t possibly ever be overturned.

We were told that worrying about Roe was sensationalism. That its repeal was so remote a prospect that worrying about it was much ado about nothing. Many on the Republican side who voted repeatedly against codifying Roe used the excuse that Roe was not in danger as an easy way out. The same could happen to IVF.

Of course, that all came to an end two years ago, when a MAGA majority on the Supreme Court did precisely what the anti-abortion movement has wanted for decades: the reversal of Roe and elimination of the constitutional right to an abortion.

Today, we live in a country where tens of millions of women are forbidden by law from making very personal decisions about their bodies. This is precisely what many Republicans who are scared of their own bad views on abortion assured us would never happen. And yet here we are, in a modern-day dark age for women’s fundamental freedoms.

Worst of all, the anti-abortion movement is not yet finished. Now that Roe is gone, they have set their sights to a new target: in vitro fertilization.

So today, the question before the Senate is very simple: do we agree that Americans should be free to use IVF if they want to, yes or no? If yes, then the only right answer is to vote in favor of today’s bill.

The Right to IVF Act is commonsense and necessary: it establishes a nationwide right to IVF and eliminates barriers for the millions of families looking to use IVF to start and to grow a family.

Protecting IVF should be the easiest “yes” vote the Senate has taken all year. Republicans cannot say they are pro-family and then vote against protecting IVF.

And it’s very fitting that we take this important vote today of all days. Here in the Senate, we are voting to protect women’s reproductive freedoms. But on the other side of Capitol Hill, Donald Trump and his Republican sycophants will be talking about tax breaks for the very rich, cuts to the middle class, and packing our courts with more radical judges. The contrast couldn’t be clearer.

Look at the contrast: Democrats are protecting IVF, Donald Trump and Republicans are protecting wealthy tax breaks. And which side are the American people? It’s obvious.

And look, as we’ve prepared this IVF bill, many of our Republican colleagues who hate talking about this issue have made the same panicked arguments they made about Roe. That it’s a non-issue. It’ll never happen. That we’re blowing things out of proportion. That IVF, they say, is simply not under threat and today’s bill is unnecessary.

Senators Cruz and Britt even organized a statement yesterday signed by all Republican Senators saying that of course they support IVF, but they certainly won’t be voting on a bill that protects it. Easy to see through that one, isn’t it?

How strange – all forty-nine Republicans are willing to sign a piece of paper saying they like IVF, but virtually none of them seem willing to actually vote for a bill that protects IVF. It shows you how afraid they are of the issue, but how they’re tied in a knot by the MAGA hard-right on choice, and they can’t do anything that the American people want.

This is simple if you really support access to IVF, vote to protect access to IVF. America – watch what our Republican colleagues do, not what they say.

Again: this is not a show vote – this is a show-us-who-you-are vote – and today, unfortunately, it seems our Republican colleagues are going to show us just who they are: people who would not protect a woman’s right to IVF.

To all those on the other side who claim IVF is not under any threat, facts are stubborn things.

Look at what happened yesterday when one of the most powerful anti-abortion voices in America officially came out against IVF.

Look at what the Alabama Supreme Court did four months ago. Their decision on IVF led to a temporary halt on all IVF services across the state of Alabama. That is a disastrous thing to see in 21st-century America.

Senate Republicans who like to pretend that IVF is not under threat should have a word with the likes of the Heritage Foundation and Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. These organizations are some of the most influential authorities in conservatism and on the Republican party, and they are making it plain as day that IVF is the hard-right’s next project.

Just one week ago, the Susan B. Anthony League wrote to Senators telling them to oppose the Right to IVF Act. They said our bill protecting IVF was “irredeemable” and described IVF as a “free for all.” Their opposition to IVF uses identical language as those who oppose abortion.

The Heritage Foundation – one of the most important, one of the most powerful, one of the most influential conservative organizations – is also against our bill protecting IVF. They were even against the fig leaf messaging bill pushed by Senators Cruz and Britt, which didn’t actually protect IVF at all. It seems the Senior Senator from Texas up for reelection is running scared.

One senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation predicted a “generational shift” in how the right views IVF, saying “Many of these pro-life Republicans are going to have to think more deeply about what it means to be pro-life.”

The hard-right is saying it plain as day: first they targeted abortion, and now IVF is next. Sooner or later, Republican Senators are going to fall into line.

This all brings me back, again, to the very important vote happening today here on the Senate floor.

As Donald Trump talks about protecting tax cuts for the rich, we Democrats in the Senate are talking about protecting women’s reproductive freedoms. It is a fitting encapsulation of what’s at stake this year.

Finally, let me finish with this: starting a family is one of the most sacred decisions a person can ever make. For many it’s what makes life worth living.

Infertility makes that impossible for tens of millions of couples. About 10% of couples struggle with this medical condition. That’s a heavy burden to carry if your deepest wish is to become a mom or a dad. It can be a source of worry, concern, or even shame.

IVF has thus been a miracle cure for generations of parents and kids. It’s been part of my family’s story: my beautiful grandchild was born thanks to the help of IVF. And I thank the good Lord for it.

So, it is the stuff of nightmares that today, the hard-right in America is beginning to set their sights on preventing people from using IVF.

We have a chance today to stop this madness before it takes full flight. We have a chance to pass a bill that says something very simple: IVF is a basic right and it will be protected under the law.

To my Republican colleagues, the choice is yours. Americans are watching. Parents back home are watching. And couples who want to become parents are watching too.

Republicans cannot say they are pro family but vote against protecting IVF. That is what’s at stake today. I urge everyone to vote yes.

And remember, America, this is not a show vote –  it is a show us who you are vote.