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tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Van Hollen Murphy Whitehouse Sanders Cortez Masto ...  CSPAN  May 11, 2022 8:46am-10:01am EDT

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intimate decisions themselves with the advice of their physician, whoever else that they want to consult. this is not about politics. this is not about the opinions of folks who think that they knowr. better. let's preserve the right of women to do what they think is best. that's why we have to pass the united states and why i would urge all my colleagues to search their heart and listen to the stories that people will tell them and understand that the right thing to do is to protect reproductive freedoms and rights in america. madam president, i yield the floor. >> eight days ago our country received a terrible wake-up call, a a leaked draft opinion
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from the supreme court of the united states indicated that a majority of five justices may be on the verge of overturning the constitutional protections of reproductive freedom set forth in roe v. wade. we don't know if this draft opinion will be the final decision, but we do know there's a very high chance that the supreme court of the united states will soon blow up 50 years of precedent, and strip women of the constitutional right to make choices about their own bodies. and own self-determination. and while the content of this opinion is shocking, it's not totally surprising. this is the premeditated outcome of years, years of plotting and planning either right-wing legal movement and the republican
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party. candidate donald trump promised the nation he would handpick justices who would overturn roe v. wade. on the campaign trail he even claimed that roe would be overturned quote immediately once he assumed office. anded he stated on national television that women who receive abortions should be punished. leader mcconnell andat senate republicans made up their own rules, and then broke their own rules in order to play their part in this scheme. first, senate republicans refused to even hold a hearing on president obama's supreme court nominee merrick garland. on the grounds that it was a presidential y election year. four years later, senate republicans rushed through one of president trump's own suprems court nominees just weeks before
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the 2020 election. and in between, senate republicans carved out an exception to the senate filibuster rule so they could push through all three of trump's anti-choice supreme court picks, neil gorsuch, bret- kavanaugh and amy coneyug barre. that they respected the weight of judicial precedent. in fact, when brett kavanaugh was asked about roe v. wade, he pointed to planned parenthood v. casey which affirmed the holding in roe assumption aukus is right to abortion and he called the decision in c casey precedent on precedent, a double precedent. but, madam president, let's be very clear. this draft opinion has no respect for judicial precedent.
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if the draft holds, all three of president trump's nominees of the supreme court, along withal some others already on the bench, will have deliberately deceived and defrauded the american public. right-wing ideologues set out to stack the court with justices ready and willing to overturn roe v. wade. now, this right-wing establishment, this machinery, is on the verge of achieving their goal. even though the wind will be a horrible loss for the reputation of the supreme court, a horrible loss for the integrity of our constitution, and most of all a horrible loss for the american people. madam president, more than half of the women and girls of reproductive age in our country live in states that would likely ban or severely restrict abortion if the supreme court overturns roe v. wade.
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13 states have so-called trigger laws that will kick into effect automatically or the day roe is overturned. nine states passed laws that were struck down in the past because they violated the protectionsla but those laws could come back if roe v. wade is overturned. many of these laws we're talking about our extreme. one trigger law in kentucky would ban all abortions at any point in pregnancy with no exceptions for rape, no exceptions were incest or situation which aou child coulde born with a fatal birth defect. another trigger law in idaho with make providing an abortion at any point in pregnancy and under almost any circumstances a felony crime punishable by five years in prison.
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a texas law that on the books right now would put doctors in jail or find them up to $10,000 for prescribing pills for medication abortions through telehealth or the mail for women who are more than seven weeks pregnant. and a lots of spin on the books since 1931 in michigan would snap back into effect, making nearly all abortions at any point pregnancy a felony. and women who undergo medication abortions would be made felons, even in the case of rape and incest next weak state legislatures and the louisiana house advanced a bill through committee that would allow womeo who obtain abortions at any time in pregnancy to be prosecuted for murder, for murder. experts say this extreme law could also be used to restrict emergency contraception and in
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vitro fertilization which is a critical process that helps couples with infertility build their families. madam president, like many of our colleagues i've been hearing from my constituents come my constituents in a state of maryland, who have learned just how dangerous the situation is. women and families across the country. one constituent named connie shared her story of taking emergencyon contraception after she was attacked and raped by a stranger at the age of 18. she told me about the importance of being able to make that choice about her body instead of potential becoming pregnant because of a rate. today, she is a social worker, a therapist and is a wonderful son. i have received others testimonials from constituents
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across the state ofnd maryland o share their stories and express their deep concern and fear about the court striking down roe v. wade. madam president, if roe is overturned, women living in states where safe and legal abortion is banned, will have to travel away from their homes, away from their communities, away from their families simply to exercise control over their own bodies. those who lost -- or find somebody performing abortions in the shadows in their states. they throw back to the dangers back alley abortions. in 1965, eight years before the roe v. wade decision, the legal abortion accounted for
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17%, 70% of d all deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth. that path could soon be our president. so, madam president, you see, this supreme court decision doesn't just turned back the clock on precedent. it turns back the clock on public health as it strips women of their reproductive freedoms. and in a world where roe has been overturned as you drive across our great country, your rights will change from state to state as you cross each state border. that's the result of taking away a constitutional right, and that's why polling shows the great majority of american people do not want to supreme court to take away the rights under roe v. wade. now, i am proud to represent the
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state that is codified a woman's in fact, during my very first campaign for public office, the right to reproductive choice was the defining issue in my election to the maryland general assemble. it was another time when there g was great fear that a supreme court might overturn roe v. wade. and so i rant on the pro-choice ticket, and after i was sworn in in a matter of months, my colleagues and i passed a bill in 1991 codifying roe v. wade as a matter of maryland state law. but here's the thing. laws like the one we have in maryland, laws like the one we passed back in 1991 will be on the chopping block if these, if this decade-long right-wing project continues to go according to plan.
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because the republicans ultimate objective is it just to overturn roe v. wade. it's to enact a federal law passed in this senate and in the house banning abortion nationwide. last week leader mcconnell acknowledged that a national ban on abortion was a real possibility during an interview with "usa today." that should sound alarm bells all over america. this has been a two-step process. step number one, strike down the constitutional protections of roe v. wade that prohibit elected officials, whether it state legislatures or in congress, from enacting laws that prohibit or restrict unnecessarily the right to choose. that'soo step one. seems we are on the verge of that happening. once you clear the way, step
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two, enact a federal law in congress banning abortion everywhere in the country. and we have seen exactly how extreme those laws can be from the state examples i cited earlier. that could happen here if this republican right-wing project sees its logical end. that federal law would supersede maryland's law. if congress passed the law and was enacted, state laws like those in maryland protecting the right to choose in maryland would be knocked off the books. that's true of other state laws, statutes that protect a woman's right to choose. no woman in america would be safe s to attain a safe and legl abortion, if such a national law
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were enacted. now, madam president, everyone should also understand another huge danger posed by the draft. it's flawed logic not only would dismantle the right to an abortion, they could also be used to strip away other rights protected by the constitution. i have read justice alito's draft opinion. i have read all 98 pages of it. in this opinion justice alito tries to extinguish, , distinguish, he tries to distinguish this case on abortion from other cases involving other individual rights here alito claims that this case is special because it involves abortion and the states interest in protecting life,
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while other cases do not. well, that's obvious on its face, but it misses the bigger danger in his opinion. because it doesn't change the fact that justice alito's reasoning for dismantling the right to obtain an abortion can be used to dismantle many other rights that we currently take for granted as well. .. entire constitution, you you cannot fia right to choose for women, you cannot d >> you cannot derive it that, justice alito writes, the constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is protected by any constitutional provision, end
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quote. and if we follow justices, justice alito's logic, the same could be said of a host of other rights that are not specifically named in the constitution. the constitution doesn't have the word contraception in it. the constitution doesn't talk about consenting adults engaging in sexual relations. look, this is the thing, over time the supreme court has recognized components of liberty through a close analysis of the bill of rights and that includes the right to use contraception, the rights of consenting adults to have sexual relations with who they choose and marry who you love. these are rights that americans don't want them to take away
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whether it's the members of the senate or the house. and if the logic of alito's reasoning is played out. and the terrible irony, the terrible irony here is those who most claim to oppose government regulations of any kind are now the ones rushing to regulate the most intimate, personal, and private aspects of american life. if they don't want government having any role in their lives. get out of my way, except for when it comes to them taking away this right and planning to pass laws that would ban abortion nationally. as i said, open the door to
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going after other liberties as well. so those are the stakes that we're facing as we gather here this evening in anticipation of tomorrow's vote and that's why we're taking this vote tomorrow. that's why we need to pass the women's health protection act, but even if we fall sort this time, having a vote now is important, it's important to the country. democracy requires accountability and it's important that the american people know where each of the senators stand on this issue, it's a fundamental question. so, madam president as we move to november to the midterm elections, the american people will be watching closely how the matters of this body vote on this fundamental constitutional question. and they will look to see who
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voted to strip away constitutional rights and who rose to protect them. and madam, president. i believe that the majority of this country, the overwhelming of this majority of this country wants to stand up to protect fundamental liberties in the constitution of the united states. i yield the floor. >> madam president. >> the senator from
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connecticut. >> thank you very much, madam president. i will probably get in trouble with somebody for saying this, but the question of when life begins, the deeper question of what defines life, which biological entities are alive or possess independent existence versus which biological entities are simply part of something else that is alive, and those are really hard questions. i heard my colleague senator daines on the floor earlier tonight talking passionately about his belief that life begins at conception and that humans have an obligation to defend a day old fetus, equally to our obligation to defend the life of someone who has been
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born. now, i disagree. i believe that life begins at birth. i believe that our legal obligation towards a born human is different than our legal obligation towards an unborn fetus. but on that narrow question on when life begins, i don't cast any particular judgment on senator daines for believing what he believes. his belief system is shared by millions of americans. not the majority of americans, but a significant share. this disagreement that he and i have over when legally protected life begins though is as significant and as important a disagreement as exists, right? because it's about the most
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foundational questions in human existence. what is life, who decides whether a woman bares a child. who has control over that woman's body. who has control over the most sacred and critical function of a human being, the act of giving birth. it just doesn't get any more important than that set of questions. and given this fundamental disagreement, given the weightiness of these questions, given the large number of americans who sit on either side of these questions, i come to one simple conclusion, no government, no group of politicians should make this decision for anyone else. this decision about whether to abort a pregnancy, so morally complicated and so socially divisive should and must be
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left to individuals. in this case, to women to decide. over the course of history, millions have died in fights over another weighty world issue, the question of whether god exists and if a god exists, exactly what form that takes and what requires of humans, disputes over religion have eradicated entire civilizations. what does this have to do with roe versus wade? well, our founding fathers decided that there were some topics that were so personal, so subject to disagreement and controversy that government should just be barred from registering judgment. that's part of the reason why our civilization has not been plagued by wars between religious groups, a reality that continues to paralyze societies to this day in other parts of the world because we
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keep government out of the question of which god is the right god. that's up to every american to decide for themselves. even though many americans believe that the consequence of observing or following the wrong god is serious, eternal damnation for some. that's a perfect, but correlary to choice over abortion, the decision whether to have an abortion is so personal and a lack of consensus in the country on the question is so unavoidable, as to make government intervention just as illegitimate as it would be if government tried to dictate to someone which religion they should follow. now, that's not the exact route that the supreme court traveled to get to the issue, but it
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helps me to understand why from 1973 to today, the decision about whether or not to have an abortion has been a constitutional right of the individual not the constitutional right of the government's to decide. frankly, it's always been really hard for me to square how republicans, who so readily evangelize about small government, about the importance of putting families and their decision making processes first, about the evil of public sector overreach, are so enthusiastic about the government micromanaging personal decisions about pregnancy or marriage, or adoption. small government is great, i guess, for corporations, but it's not so great when it comes to the most intimate decisions at that families make. as i've said on this floor before, it's also hard to take
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seriously republicans' passionate pleas for this body to defend the existence of an unborn fetus when they seem to care so little about many of the existential threats that are posed to every american after they are born. today this day, over 100 americans are going to die from gunshot wounds, from murders and suicides. and whether my republican colleagues agree with me or not that stricter gun laws are the solution to the uniquely american epidemic that plagues those that are born, i don't know if i've heard a republican speech dedicated to this crisis on the floor of the senate. i've heard dozens dedicated to the cause of those before birth. it seems that after birth life matters a little bit less to some people in this body. so that's what i think. as i said, i'll probably get
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into some hot water for admitting that i understand the arguments that people like senator daines make. i don't agree with his views, but i understand them. and my hope is that as we begin this debate over the future of reproductive choice and health in this country, as this debate heats up, it's not going away, we're taking a vote tomorrow. but this as a debate is going to consume this nation if the alito opinion becomes law which i believe it will. my hope is that we're honest in this debate, but that the republicans are equally honest in the claims that they make. and let me just briefly tell you what i mean. today i heard republican senators making a whole bunch of claims that are just so ungrounded in truth as to diminish the quality of what
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should be a very important debate on a very weighty subject. for instance, i heard senators make the claim that the protesters who were protesting outside or near supreme court justice's homes, threatened violence against those justices. that was an explicit claim by people who came to the floor and may have heard it on a website. and that's not true. you can be outside of public official's homes, that's happened to all of us, don't make up threats of violence because it makes for a better story. and i heard one senator the women's protection act, i'll proudly vote for tomorrow, allows for garage abortions. that's not true. that's just plainly not true. every state requires that
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abortions be performed in licensed health care facilities and nothing in the bill changes that. don't say that because it makes a better story. many republicans claim that the bill we're taking up tomorrow allow abortions up to the date of birth. that's not true either. the women's health protection act, it does codify roe versus wade, but roe only protects a woman's right to have an abortion without restriction until viability and then afterward protects for the woman's health or risk of death. the bill simply does not expand the circumstances under which an abortion would be performed beyond what currently exists in case law. so, i'm going to be honest with my colleagues about the admitted complexities, the political, moral complexities
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of this debate, but i expect opponents of the bill that we are debating tomorrow to be equally honest in the arguments that they make as well. so, i'll have a lot more to say about this topic as we begin what i think is a debate that will consume this nation rightfully over the course of the coming weeks and months, but today, i will leave it there. madam president, i yield the floor. >> madam president. >> the senator from rhode island. >> madam president, i'm here for the 14th time to keep unmasking the scheme to control our supreme court, a scheme that's now poised to destroy a woman's right to make her own reproductive health choices and to smash foundational supreme
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court precedent to get there. last week, politico confirmed a fear that many of us had for years. we now see that the supreme court has at least five votes to eradicate roe versus wade. one of the most important decisions in the court's history. for nearly half a century, women in this country have relied on roe's recognition that our constitutional riot to privacy includes the right to decide when to have a child. this is one of the most profoundly personal and life-changing decisions anyone can make. now the draft opinion from justice alito shows in black and white how the court plans to steam roll over that right, and then afterwards, probably many others that are anchored in that same american right to privacy. if justice alito's draft opinion becomes law, women in
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this country will have a well-established constitutional right stripped away and that had not happened before. already 13 states have triggered bans that will snap into place as soon as roe is overturned and 13 more to ban or severely restrict abortions in the future and it won't stop there. for example, louisiana's republican lawmakers just advanced the bill that would criminalize abortion as homicide and allow prosecutors to charge women seeking abortions as criminals. in the week since this news broke, a lot of americans have expressed just how strongly they disagree with the path this court is headed down, they're disappointed, they're stunned, they're outraged, and they're right. when you take a second to remember what the same justices told us in the past about roe,
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you can be doubly outraged. i know democrats on the senate judiciary committee are. we saw the last three republican justices come through that committee and look us in the eye as we asked what they thought about roe. let's be clear. each of these republican justices came before the committee, each was specifically asked about roe versus wade. hear is what they told us. neil gorsuch, roe versus wade decided in 1973 is a precedent of the united states supreme court. it has been reaffirmed. breath kavanaugh, it is so as a precedent of the supreme court entitled to respect under principles of-- amy coney barrett. roe was not a super-precedent for calls for its ruling has
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never ceased, but it doesn't mean it should be overruled it just doesn't fall in the small handful of cases that no one questions anymore and add in alito himself, roe versus wade is an important precedent of the supreme court, yet, here is what justice alito's draft opinion says, i quote, roe was egregiously wrong from the start and the reasoning exceptionally weak and damaging consequences. well, there was no mention of egregiously at the confirmation hearings. there was no mention of wrong from the start when we asked about roe. does anyone seriously think that this was a sudden, new epiphany that came over the federalist society justices in the last few weeks? none, none managed to mention their belief that roe versus
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wade was egregiously wrong from the start. whether that was outright lying or confirmation hearing hide the ball tricks, it's dishonorable and it was dishonest. if that's what you believe as a judge, own it. don't keep your views secret until you have the votes to make your move. that may be clever politics, but it's politics not judging. it is a big tell about this captured court. since the news broke, the republicans tried to change the subject. the minority leader the real outrage is know the eblit ration of women's rights, but that we found out early. and other senate republicans
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called for the fbi to prosecute the leaker criminally or civilly. and called it a singular breach of trust to those who work here. >> as for the leak, mr. chief justice, go for it, investigate away and send the marshals. and to my republican colleagues with the pitch forecast, spare me the high dungeon, spare me the outrage. as explained, the supreme court has no code of ethics, which is the place you would normally put a ban on misusing nonpublic information. so what crime would the fbi investigate? as for the affront to the
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institution, i suggest everyone consider the real rot at the core of the supreme court. if you care about the independence and integrity of the court, it's not the leak you should be outraged about, it's that for the first time in the history of the united states supreme court, the selection of supreme court justices was farmed out, handed off, to a private organization and justices were selected in some back room with zero transparency, but the selections were made and the lifts were assembled and zero transparency into the dark money that slowed into that private organization while the selections were being made. who made what?
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to have a seat at the federalist society judicial selection turnstile. we know from new reporting that it was the federalist's society leonard leo to quote, laid out the road map for trump on the federal court system with the goal of, and i quote, transforming the foundational understanding of rights in america. so much for balls and strikes, huh? leo came up with the list of judges that would please the republican base from among what he called-- what was called the decades of conservative lawyers in the pipeline. he became a team with don mcgann, the white house counsel, and mitch mcconnell to keep the judicial nominations effort moving. it was leo who took to the white house where he had extensive access. the revised nominee's list that included kavanaugh and barrett.
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the picks were made by advisors, said senator mcconnell, with trump's role merely signing off on them, but he never veered from the lists of candidates suggested by leo and others. and again, this was not about calling balls and strikes. if you want-- and i'm quoting here, to have the longest possible impact on the kind of america you want, said leader mcconnell, impact on the kind of america you want, you look at the courts. that's their goal, to change the kind of america we have. more accurately, the kind of america the far right mega doan donors is what i would say.
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and mitch mcconnell, judges, judges, judges, only things he wants is judges, and said so, trump's own white house counsel that he insourced the federalist society into the process. as one conservative explained, this was an enterprise, an enterprise of building a supreme court that will overturn roe versus wade. what's the anonymous donors behind the federalist society pecking operation got the nominees they wanted then came the dark money front groups, rolling out ad campaigns to help ram those justices through the senate. anonymous donations of $15 million, $17 million, $19 million went to phony front groups like the so-called judicial crisis network, to promote those back-room chosen
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federalist society nominees. then once the federalist society justices were on the court. fro flotillas came before them as litigants orchestrated by the dozens in little groups just to show the republican justices how to rule and it's pretty sure that they were behind the turnstile, the propaganda machine and flotillas and by the way, they are winning. winning with these hand-picked justices at an astonishing rate. 80-0 by one count. you see the results of the scene in this case. the sponsors of the mississippi abortion law said
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they didn't know they would hold it just like a new legislative body would come in. after amy coney barrett's confirmation, mississippi, it all smells of fixry. and no matter whether they asked whether the court would survive the stench this creates in the public permission the constitution and its reading are just political acts. so if colleagues want to talk about demolition of the integrity of independence of the court then they better have something to say about turning the supreme court over to dark money special interests, about special interests capturing the courts to serve their right wing enterprise. a captured court is that deliver for the special interest that stacked this and helping to keep their secrets,
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has had its integrity and independence pretty much demolished already. the last gasp of the scoundrels, democrats calling out this dark money mess are the ones undermining the integrity of the court and point to a brief of mine where several colleagues and i pointed out to the court a poll showing a majority of americans that the court-- i quote the poll here, mainly motivated by politics and that it ought to be,quoting the poll again here, restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics. that's a poll, not a threat and the court better pay attention to why the american people feel that way rather than quarrelling that anyone is threatening or bullying the court by pointing that out. by the way, if threatening is
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what you want to bust about, have the decency to be consistent. here is a post from fox news' host laura ingraham. forgive my bad language to the pages who are here, i'm actually quote are her verbatim. we have six republican appointees on this court after all the money that has been raised. the federalist society. all of these big fat cat dinners. i'm sorry, i'm-- about this, if the justices cannot do the right thing here, the constitutional thing i think it's time to do what robert bourke said we should do which is to circum describe the jurisdiction of this court and if they want to blow it up, then that's the way to change things finally.
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far from pushing back on that threat to blow it up and change things finally, the senate colleague she was talking to said, in a heartbeat. when you're treating an accurate quotation of a poll as a threat and ignoring a public threat to blow up the court and change things finally, after all the fat cat money spent on the federalist society, no less, forgive me for doubting your sincerity. senator padilla said in the judiciary committee last week, have the decency to be consistent, at least. justice alito spent over 98 pages trying and failing to overturn the decision protecting these rights. overturning a decision he told the united states senate was an important precedent of the supreme court. his opinion isn't pervasive to
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me at all. it reads as snide and cruel, but that's not going to stop these justices from trying to throw us back into an age where women aren't free to make their own choices about their own bodies and their own futures. it looks like the fix went in on that a while ago. and we just weren't told about it in the hearings. so tomorrow, the majority leader will bring before this body the decision to protect the rights nationwide, to protect that freedom across this country. and i'm here to vote for it. we've got to stand against this assault on women's constitutional rights and i hope some republican colleagues will join us. and particularly, i hope, in the weeks and months ahead, that we can find ways to unravel the dark money scheme that has brought this court and
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our country closer to the brink because the court that dark money built. it's not done. it's not done trying to reshape america against our will to suit the extreme ideology of the right wing billionaires behind the scheme. there is one good thing in all of this darkness, and that is that the american people see it as nonsense and have had enough. i yield the floor. >> madam president. >> the senator from vermont. >> thank you. madam president, recently leaked draft opinions, jackson women's health organization, signals what many of us feared
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would happen. that means five right wing supreme court justices being poised to overturn roe vs wade and abolish the constitutional right for women to have an abortion. in my view, united states senate cannot and must not allow that to happen. we cannot go back to the days when women had to risk their lives to end an unwanted pregnancy. we cannot go back to the days of back alley abortions. we cannot go back to the days of forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy or go through a childbirth that could cause her illness or death. that we cannot go back to. in america today, it's estimated that one out of every four women will choose to have an abortion by the time they
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turn 45. in 2019 over 625,000 women in america chose to have an abortion. while no one can say with any degree of certainty how many deaths there will be if abortion is made illegal and women are forced to carry unsafe pregnancies to term. there is no doubt that over a period of time many thousands of american women will die. now, i get very tired of hearing the hypocrisy from the extreme right wing who say, to quote, get the government off our backs. how often have we heard that? get the government off our backs, we want small government.
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well, i say to those right wingers, if you want to get the government off of the backs of the american people, then understand that it is women who control their own bodies, not politicians. during the covid crisis, how many times have we heard on this floor throughout this country the extreme right wing say, the government must not force us to wear a mask. how dare the government do that? government must not force us to have a vaccine. we have the right to do what we want with our bodies. well, hypocritically, these very same right wing politicians who worry so much about their masks and vaccines, they now want the federal
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government, the state government, and their own local governments to mandate what women cannot and can do with their bodies. how hypocritical can you be? the decision about an abortion must be the decision for a woman and her doctor to make, not the government. and that's why i rise this evening in strong support of the women's health protection act. this legislatures would make roe vs wade the law of the lan. this legislation would begin to put an end to the relentless assault on the reproductive rights of women that is taking place all across this country. but let me be as clear as i can be, madam president, it is not good enough to use talk about
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passing this bill. if there are not 60 votes in the senate to pass this legislation and there are not, we must end the filibuster and pass it with 50 votes. you know, i hear a lot of talk from my democratic colleagues about the need for unity. well, if there was ever a time for unity, now is that time. according to poll after poll, year after year, 60% of the american people believe that roe vs wade should be upheld. more overwashington post-abes poll, 75% of americans say decisions on abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor, including 95% of democrats, 81%
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of independents, and 53% of republicans. in other words, if the united states senate was truly a representative body of the american people, which for a variety of reasons clearly it is not, we would easily have 60 votes to pass this bill and women would be protected. madam president, it is important for us to remember how we got to where we are today. five years ago senator mitch mcconnell, republican leader and the republican party in the senate ended the filibuster for supreme court nominees in order to do what they could not do legislatively, which is to make abortion legal.
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they didn't have the votes to do that. so, in order to get supreme court justices nominated, they ended the filibuster. candidate donald trump promised that he would only nominate supreme court justices who supported overturning roe vs wade. and unfortunately, out of the many lies, endless number of lies trump made during his campaign and presidency, it turns out that this is the one promise that he kept, the one honest statement that he made. further, while it looks like in this rare instance trump kept his promise, the republican supreme court justices during their senate confirmation hearings did not. in fact, justice alito and the
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three justices nominated by president trump all called roe vs wade an important precedent during their confirmation hearings. let me quote justice alito at senate confirmation january 11th, 2006. quote, justice alito. roe vs wade is an important precedent of the supreme court. it was decided in 1973 so it has been on the books for a long time. it is a precedent that has now been on the books for several decades. it has been challenged. it has been reaffirmed. that's alito. in 2017, justice gorsuch said in his confirmation hearing, quote, roe vs wade decided in 1973 is a precedent of the united states supreme court, it's been reaffirmed. a good judge will consider it
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as precedent of the united states supreme court, worthy of precedent like any other. in 2018 justice kavanaugh said at his confirmation hearing, quote, said that roe vs wade is settled and the precedent of the supreme court entitles respect on the supreme court -- and in one of the important things to keep in mind about roe vs wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years, as you know, and most prominently and affirmed that planned parenthood v casey. that's justice kavanaugh. today it's been increaingly clear, the three justices nominated by trump were hired specifically to overturn roe vs wade. and with justice alito at the
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helm, nominated by president george w. bush, that is precisely what it appears they are set to do. four justices, all appointed by presidents who have lost the popular vote. is it any wonder why americans all over our country are losing faith in their democracy. well, you know what i believe, madam president, if republicans can end the filibuster to install right wing justices nominated by presidents who lost the popular vote in order to overturn roe vs wade, democrats can and must end the filibuster to make abortion legal and safe. let's be clear. if the supreme court strikes down roe vs wade, abortion bans will immediately go into effect
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in 22 states throughout america, with four others likely to follow suit. in 10 of these states, it will be illegal to have an abortion even in cases of rape or incest. for example, in the state of texas, if roe vs wade is struck down, it will be considered a felony for any texas doctor to perform an abortion for a woman who was raped or impregnated by a family member. furthermore, that law would actually criminalize abortion, punishing both women and doctors who could face years in prison if they are found guilty. other states who passed similar type legislation. miss miss's governor has even refused to rule out the banning of contraception as a next
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step. the banning of contraception. madam president, let us be clear, the supreme court, no matter how it end up ruling, will not be able to ban abortion. if you are wealthy, if you have the means to get on an airplane or drive hundreds of miles to a clinic, you will have access to a safe abortion. but if you are poor or a member of the working class, it is likely that you will not. the reality is that overturning roe vs wade, would be devastating to low income and working class women who do not have the means to travel long distances to get an abortion.
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madam president, the issue we are discussing tonight is often framed as a woman's issue. i disagree. this is a human rights issue. and if there has ever been a time in american history when the men of this country must stand with the women of this country, this is that moment. madam president, i do find it somewhat amusing, that the loudest voices in the republican party, that demanding that women be forced to give birth against their will are exactly the same people who oppose virtually ever effort here in congress designed to improve life for children and their mothers. these republicans are opposed
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and some democrats, are opposed to paid family and medical leave in america, they literally believe that it is acceptable for an employer to force a mother to go back to her job a week after giving birth. the republican colleagues want women, regardless of what they believe, to have a baby, but they could care less about those babies once they are born. these same republicans without exception are opposed to extending the $300 a month child tax credit that expired in december and went a long, long way to making it easier for working class families to raise their children with dignity. these same republicans are opposed to universal child care and free pre-k.
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madam president, it is no great secret that women throughout the history of our country have had to fight for their basic human rights against all forms of patriarchy, but let's never forget that our country was formed, women were not just second class citizens, they were third or fourth class citizens. women have been fighting for equal rights in this country since the 1800's. they didn't receive the right to vote until 1920. if you can believe this, and people don't know this, women needed a male co-signer on bank loans until 1974. women had to get a male co-signer for a bank loan until 1974. throughout the 1960's, 1970's,
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way, way before that, women had to fight for entry into certain professions from which they were barred. the fight for equal pay continues to this day. so, madam president, let us be clear, when it comes to the rights of women, we cannot go back. we must go forwardment we cannot go back to the days when women could not have full access to birth control. we cannot go back to the days of wide scale domestic violence against women. the time has come for all of us to protect and expand women's rights in america. thank the president and i yield the floor. >> madam president.
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>> the senator from nevada. >> madam president, we are living in the twilight of roe versus wade and the incredibly important protections for americans that flow from it. for almost 50 years, the supreme court held that the constitution safeguarded women's access to critical reproductive health care, including abortion, and rightly so. most american women have never lived without the ability to control their bodies, their health, and their family's economic well-being. as we learned last week, from a draft opinion, the supreme court is poised to strip away these fundamental freedoms from women around the u.s. by overturning its own precedence. this would be one of the very few times in american history where the court has taken away rights, rather than expanding them. if this draft stands, young
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women today will have fewer choices than their mothers and grandmothers had. the senate has an opportunity to pass federal law to protect the right to choose across this country and i urge my colleagues to take and pass this legislation and do what a large majority of nevadan americans want, to let women make their own decisions. now, here is what could happen if the supreme court draft becomes law. if the supreme court overturns longstanding precedent in june, the right to choose will immediately cease to exist in about 18 states and others will act quickly to pass new bans on critical care, within months, restrictions on reproductive choice will be in place in approximately half of the states, meaning that around the world, half of women, around the country, half of women of child bearing age will not be able to get critical care where
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they live. the women who have the money and the time will travel to states like mine, that have legal protections for reproductive health care. in nevada, we're already seeing women travelling from texas, where an extreme law offers a $10,000 reward to vigilantes targeting anyone who aids and abets abortion. if roe falls, it will automatically trigger abortions in idaho and we'll see women travelling from nevada to those sates, too, but the vast majority of women seeking reproductive care won't even have the option to travel for care. we know what happens to these women. the research shows that when people cannot get essential reproductive care, they're physical, their emotional and economic health suffers. as does the health of the families. they can face life threatening
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pregnancy complications, and long-term health impacts. this court decision will strip away women's power to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. that means that women will not have the same control over their lives and bodies as men do, and that is just wrong. nevadans understand something fundamental about the right to choose. the fact is that you can never know what circumstances another person faces until you walk in their shoes. and that's why most nevadans, want to preserve women's freedom to side what health care they receive. they know it's not right to impose their own beliefs on others. what americans have such divergent religious views, economic and family circumstances and medical histories and this is why family planning is so important. we've seen it again and again over the years. far right extreme republican lawmakers want it target the
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entire spectrum of reproductive health care and family planning services. so, the laws they are proposing in states like louisiana and tennessee, would keep women who want to become pregnant from getting fertility treatments. they could stop women who are raped from getting the morning after pill to prevent a potential pregnancy, these laws could block access to contraception for women who have painful menstrual cycles or other health conditions or simply who don't want to have a child. it seems that these effects on women don't matter to many on the far right, including mitch mcconnell, who is already discussing a nationwide abortion ban that could threaten even nevada's legal protection. that's why my colleagues and i are standing up for legislation that will codify women's reproductive freedoms into federal law. the woman's health protection act will preserve the right to
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choose nationally and assure women have access to critical care. if we want our daughters to grow up with the same freedoms we have had for 50 years, we have to act now. we need to stand up for women in america and trust them to make their own decisions about their health, their families, and their lives. madam president, i believe in american women and that's why the fight for us is now. i thank you and i yield the floor. >> madam president. >> the senator from california.
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>> thank you, madam president. calling this past week, following the leaked supreme court opinion that threatens to overturn roe vs wade, thousands of californians have reached out to my office in the form of to encalls, in the forms of letters, in the forms of e-mails. all to voice their support for the right to choose. it's abundantly clear that congress must pass the woman's health protection act and codify the right to an abortion into federal law. counselless californians and other americans have spoken up. many in public, many in private to share their own abortion
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stories. think about students who want to finish high school before starting a family. think of survivors of sexual assault whose abortion reaffirmed their right to choose for their own bodies. think of parents who desperately wanted a child, but opinion becoming pregnant learned the devastating news about dangerous health risks associated with that pregnancy. think of the women whose lives were saved by an abortion because abortion is often critical, medical care. and think about women who remember a time a half a century ago, before roe vs wade secured this right, a time
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when-- don't get me wrong, abortions still happened, but they were unsafe secrets at the time when women risked their lives for the choice that they needed. madam president, i believe that the right to a abortion is a fundamental right and i'm proud to represent a state that fiercely defends abortion access. now, california is committed to safe, respectful abortion care for all who need it. that's why californians have stepped up this year with some even travelling with it, who were threatened by sb-8 the texas law that prohibits abortions at six weeks. this is the very law that senator cortez masto referenced
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a few minutes ago and it's why so many californians are speaking up now. we know that your right to choose should not end at a state border and it certainly shouldn't rely on your income or your transportation options, or whether or not you can afford to take time off from work. all across america, a strong majority supports a woman's right to make her own health care decisions. we can't stand by and watch while right wing politicians and judges seek to roll back the clock on women's rights. that's why i'm voting for the woman's health protection act and why i urge each and every one of you to do the same. we must secure the right to abortion nationwide.
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we must protect the fundamental rights of women across the country. not just in a few states, but across the country. congress can, and must do this, bypassing the woman's health protection act. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. supported by these companies including buckeye broadband. ♪♪ >> buckeye broadband supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, getting you a front row seat to democracy. >> the u.s. senate is about to
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gavel in for this wednesday. at about 3 p.m. eastern today senate lawmakers have scheduled a vote on protecting a woman's right to have an abortion. 60 votes will be needed. also during the day, votes on nominees to the federal trade commission and federal housing administration. and now live to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, in a divided nation and world, use our lawmakers to bring order from chaos, harmony from discord, and truth from falsehood. remind them


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