Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Announcing Senate Vote Next Week To Codify A Woman’s Right To Choose Into Federal Law

May 5, 2022

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor to announce that the U.S. Senate is going to vote next week on legislation to codify a woman’s right to seek an abortion into federal law. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

If a conservative majority on the Supreme Court proceeds with their abominable decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the rights and the freedoms of every woman in this country will face their greatest threat in generations.

Let’s be clear: this is what the Republicans want. It’s in the laws Republican politicians have passed across the country. But the American people are not on their side.

Today I am announcing that next week, the U.S. Senate is going to vote on legislation to codify a woman’s right to seek an abortion into federal law.

Let me repeat that. I am announcing that next week, the U.S. Senate is going to vote on legislation to codify a woman’s right to seek an abortion into federal law. I intend to file cloture on this vital legislation on Monday which would set up a vote for Wednesday.  

All week we’ve been seeing Republicans try to duck, dodge and dip from their responsibility for bringing Roe to the brink of total repeal. That's what they've been trying to do for decades.

Next week the American people will see crystal clear, that when given the chance to right this wrong, the Republican party will either side with the extremists who want to ban abortion without exceptions, or side with women and with families and with the vast majority of Americans.

Next week’s vote will be one of the most important we ever take, because it deals with one of the most personal and difficult decisions a woman ever has to make in her life.

This is not an abstract exercise. My fellow Americans: it is as real and as urgent as it gets. Like my friend Patty Murray has said, this is a five-alarm fire.

Senate Republicans spent years packing our courts with right wing judges, will they now own up to the harm they’ve caused or will they try to undo the damage?

The vote next week will tell.

Let me say that again.

Republicans spent years under Leader McConnell pushing right wing judges to lifetime appointments to the bench.

They stole the nomination of Merrick Garland, changed the rules of the Senate, and rammed through three hard-right, hard ideological Justices to the bench.

They spent years encouraging radical legislatures as they passed scores of cruel restrictions on abortion. One of those laws is unfortunately about to be upheld in the Supreme Court.

Republicans can run but they can’t hide from the horror they’ve created. Republicans can run but they can't hide. They have two choices: they own it now or—miracle of miracles—try to begin to undo the damage.

And again, to my colleagues, to my fellow Americans, this is not an abstract exercise in the slightest.

You know why that’s true? Because the hard right is not treating it like an abstract exercise at all: in recent years they’ve been racing—bolting—to pass unhinged, cruel, anti-choice legislation that would catapult women’s rights back into the stone age. They’ve been preparing for this moment for years.

The Mississippi law before the Supreme Court, for example, has zero—zero exceptions for rape or incest, a position that would have been regarded on the extreme of the extreme not too long ago. Imagine telling a woman that she's raped, that some white male politician is going to, a white male judge is going to determine whether she has to continue to carry the fetus.

In Arizona, the governor signed a law that could imprison anyone who “provides, supplies or administers” an abortion by up to five years, should Roe be overturned.

Again: no exceptions for rape. No exceptions for incest.

The infamous law in Texas, meanwhile, bans abortion as early as six weeks. Many women don’t realize they are pregnant until after six weeks. And again: no exceptions for rape. No exceptions for incest.

And unfortunately these are not aberrations: twenty-six states have laws on the books that would begin the process of banning abortions if Roe is overturned. Thirteen of these are trigger laws, meaning these bans would happen almost immediately after a Supreme Court decision.

This, it seems, is what the hard right wants: forced pregnancies. No exceptions for rape. No exceptions for incest. Republican politicians are telling America’s women “your body, our choice.”

We cannot allow this vision of America to succeed. Come next week, Senate Republicans will have to answer for everything they’ve done over the years to embolden the hard right’s hostility against a woman’s choice.

They've tried to hide what they're doing. They've tried to downplay what they're doing. Those days are over. Everyone is going to know what you've done and how you feel. Leader McConnell can duck at press conferences when asked if he's happy to see Roe v. Wade go by the wayside but he won't be able to duck it any longer.

America cannot allow this vision of the country to succeed. Come next week, Senate Republicans will have to answer for everything they've done over the years to embolden the hard  right's hostility against a woman's choice.

They will not be able to hide from the American people, and cannot hide their role in bringing Roe to an end.

The vote will tell. Next week, America will be watching.

 

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