Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding this afternoon’s vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Later today, the Senate is going to vote on a simple yet urgent question: will this chamber agree to begin debate on protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care choices?
Across the country, it is a dark, dark time for women’s reproductive rights. Last year, we saw the most—the most—abortion restrictions passed by state legislatures in a single year. Some of them were almost vicious, the vigilantism of Texas’s law, I call vicious vigilantism. Many of these new laws are downright extreme, effectively extinguishing women’s ability to even exercise their rights at all.
And the new extreme restrictions fly largely in the face of public opinion; they fly in the face of commonsense health practices; and frankly they fly against common decency itself. And sadly, it seems like the Supreme Court is close to drastically restricting this long-established right in the coming months.
So the Senate today is going to take action because abortion has never been more at risk in America. Indeed, this will be the first time the Senate takes a vote on a stand-alone bill to proactively codify Roe. Let me say that again – this will be the first time that the Senate takes a vote on a stand-alone bill to proactively codify Roe.
Every American, every American, deserves to know where his or her Senator stands on an issue as important as the right to choose, and today’s vote will do that.
From the moment that Roe was decided in 1973, the most extreme elements of the Republican Party have plotted its demise. The Federalist Society was founded with the intent of cultivating a generation of judges loyal to conservative causes. Sadly, it seems like the Supreme Court is posed to severely limit abortion rights in the coming months.
That’s why this bill is essential: Congress must codify into law what most Americans have long believed, that abortion is a fundamental right, and that women’s decisions over women’s health care belong to women, not – not – to extremist right-wing legislatures.
We must vote in favor to hold a debate on this bill. I will proudly, strongly, vote yes, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.