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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Delivers Remarks At Press Conference On Today’s Vote To Advance The Right To Contraception Act

Washington, D.C.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke alongside Senate Democrats 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 start with a disturbing statistic. According to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1 in 5 U.S. adults worry that the right to contraception is under threat. This is America, 21st century, and we're still worried about this. And in the same poll, less than half said they felt the right to use birth control was secure. Less than half of Americans in the 21st century are not sure they have the right to birth control. That's more people than live in Florida or Texas or California. It's astounding that people have to worry about it.

“How did this happen? Make no mistake, Americans’ uncertainty about using birth control is one of the many, many shameful consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade. So for those who may say that contraception is not under fire, I have two questions for you.

“What about the influx of all the efforts across the country, trying to make it more difficult to access contraception? Ask the governors in states that have vetoed legislation. Ask the legislators who were putting forth legislation in so many states to curtail the right. It is under threat. And also, after years and years of being told that Roe would be protected, is this a gamble any— any one of us should be willing to take? They said, oh, don't worry. Everyone said, don't worry about Roe. Well, we have real worry about Roe after Dobbs, more than worry. We have similar worries about contraception if we don't do something about it.

“This is the mess that Donald Trump and the MAGA Supreme Court and the Republican-led Senate has created. This is the mess that Democrats in the Senate are determined to fix.

“In short, this is not a show vote. This is a show us who you are vote. Let me say that again. This is not a show vote. This is a show us who you are vote, and the Republicans don't want to show who they really are, but they're going to have to in a few hours.

“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 U.S., but because of Donald Trump, the hard-right, and the Republican Senate, which is willing to go along with them, it's reality. But today, fortunately, the Senate has the chance to protect reproductive rights by advancing the Right to Contraception Act. I want to thank all my senators, particularly our women senators, who have met day in and day out fighting for us on this issue.

“The Right to Contraception Act says, if you want to access birth control, if you're a health care advocate, provider wanting to prescribe birth control, the government has no right, no right to interfere. Now, doesn't that seem like common sense? After all, birth control is something over 90%, 92% of Americans support. Of course, we're already hearing the same predictable, tired, unpersuasive retorts from the other side: that this vote is unnecessary, that birth control could never possibly be at risk, that this is much ado about nothing. That's not true. As I said, go ask the people of Virginia what they think after their Republican governor 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 birth control. Or 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, Republican legislators are on record blocking protections for birth control access in one form or another. We're kidding ourselves if we think the hard-right is going to be satisfied simply after overturning Roe with the horrible Dobbs decision. Remember, people said before Dobbs that Roe would never be overturned and of course, unfortunately, it was by a right-wing MAGA court appointed by Donald Trump and our Republican colleagues here in the Senate.

“It is utterly unacceptable for Americans to even question whether or not access to birth control should fall at risk. We can eliminate that worry in one fell swoop by passing the Right to Contraception Act.”