Skip to content

TRANSCRIPT: Schumer Remarks At Press Conference On Next Week’s Vote To Codify A Woman’s Right To Choose Into Federal Law

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today delivered remarks at a press conference with other Senate Democrats on next week’s Senate vote to codify a woman’s right to seek an abortion into federal law. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

For two decades – over two decades – Republicans across the country have worked to dismantle Roe. They’ve worked to take away the rights of women who simply want to make their own choices and not be told by some doctors, some senators, some court Justice, how to treat their bodies.

Republican politicians across the country are passing laws telling the women of America: your body, our choice. So much for the party of limited government. And now with the Republican court, on the verge of tearing down five decades of precedent, Republicans suddenly don't want to talk about their complicity in this effort. You ask them about do they support repealing Roe v. Wade? They change the subject. What does that say? It says they know they're on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of the American people. And their 30 year effort they now wish to go underground because they're actually afraid in certain ways that it might succeed.

All week we've seen Republicans try to duck, dodge, and dip from their responsibility for bringing Roe to the brink of total repeal. This is about to change. 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 Monday, which would set up a vote for Wednesday. Republicans will have two choices. They can own the destruction of women's rights, or they can reverse course and work to prevent the damage. Count me as skeptical that they'll do the latter. Republicans have been on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of America. A poll just released today from Data for Progress showed voters want Roe to stay the law of the land by a two-to-one margin. Democrats, Independents and 35% of Republicans believe we should keep Roe in place.

Next week's vote will be one of the most important we take, not only this session, but in this century. This is not an abstract exercise. It’s as real, it's as urgent as it gets. Like my friend, Patty Murray, said, this is a five alarm fire and Republicans will not be able to hide from the horror they've unleashed on America. In recent years, Republican legislators have been racing to pass extreme anti-choice legislation that would send women's rights back into the Stone Age. The Mississippi law, for example, has zero –  zero – exceptions for rape or incest, a position that was the extreme of the extreme not too long ago, but now it seems to be the mainstream of the Republican Party.

And unfortunately, the Supreme Court, which has become extreme itself.

In Arizona, the governor signed a law that can imprison anyone who provides, supplies or administers an abortion by up to five years should Roe be overturned. No exception for rape. No exception for incest. The infamous law in Texas, meanwhile, bans abortions as early as six weeks. Many women don't realize they're pregnant until after six weeks. And again, no exception for rape. No exception for incest. In Louisiana, Republicans are pushing a new bill that would throw women and their health care providers in prison for life. It doesn’t stop. And they're going to keep at it until we the American people and particularly the women of America stop them.

The nationwide ban Republicans want is the most extreme of extreme. This is what Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans have fought for for their entire careers. But they are out of step with the mainstream, their body language, their answers to questions, show they know they are. Americans do not want to go back in time when there were dangerous and back alley abortions. We're going to have this vote this week. And believe me, America, all of America will be watching. Republicans will not be able to hide from the American people and cannot hide from their role in bringing Roe to an end.