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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Klobuchar Cornyn Leahy on Abortion Rights Bill  CSPAN  May 12, 2022 2:24am-2:53am EDT

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republicans who think it's their right to decide it? who decides it? the united states supreme court? who decides in the most personal decisions and sometimes the most agonizing decisions a woman will ever have to make? the question is who decides. 50 years of freedom is what we're talking about republicans eliminating with this vote. 50 years of freedom for women to decide what we need to do as it relates to our own health care and reproductive freedom. so i strongly support the women of this country. i believe in them. i believe in us. i trust them. i trust us. and this is about their choice, not a bunch of politicians deciding what's best for them. i yi ms. klobuchar: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota.
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cloab. ms. klobuchar: mr. president. , i come to the floor today at a pivotal time for women's rights in this country. i want to thank senators blumenthal, murray, many others, including baldwin, for the leadership on this and the women's health protection act. we learned last week, mr. president, it is very likely that the supreme court will overrule roe v. wade. the leaked opinion made it cleae court is on track to completely overrule roe, stripping women of their constitutional right to seek an abortion. it will also be, i note, against the wishes of the somewhere between 370% and -- 70% and 80% of americans who believe that this is a decision that should be made between a woman and her doctor. not with senator cruz, not a bunch of politicians in washington, but a decision that should be made between a woman
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and her doctor. 50 years stripped away of women's rights. and the fall, mr. president, will be swift. over 20 states already have laws in place that could be used to restrict access, including 13 which will automatically go into effect if the supreme court issues the decision. we have also seen states preparing to take even more extreme steps if roe is overturned. last week republican lawmakers in louisiana advanced a bill to immediately classify abortion as homicide and allow the state to prosecute women. prosecute women for receiving care. earlier this year, a bill was introduced by republican legislators in missouri to allow
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private citizens to sue people who help women leave the state to get care. this comes on top of the 19 states that already have laws in place to ban or restrict access to medication abortion. what this all comes down to is a fundamental question -- who is making these personal decisions, politicians or a woman? and are women equal citizens under the law? if roe is overturned, women in this country will receive different treatment under the law than men, and our access to critical care will be at the mercy of a patchwork of laws. we have all seen what happens on the ground when these kinds of restrictions are in access. texas' law last year denies access to at least 85% of patients seeking abortion-related services. some women in texas have had to drive nearly 250 miles one way
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to get care. no one should have to take a bus across the country to make a personal health care decision. a woman in louisiana or in missouri or in texas should not be treated differently than a woman in minnesota. while we are all deeply disturbed by the impact this decision will have on women and the men who stand with them, unfortunately many of us have seen this coming. republicans have been methodically preparing for this moment, stacking the courts with judges who want to overturn roe, and introducing over 500 bills in states across the country limiting access to care. well, this is still a draft decision. i am seriously concerned that the court's apparent willingness to disregard nearly 50 years of rights will not only put women's health at risk, but will
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undermine the rule of law. this draft leaked opinion brings us back to the 1950's. issue is we thought it would be the 1950's, when it is truly the 1850's. and the people of this country do not want to go backwards when it comes to their freedoms, because that is what this is about, their freedoms to make their own decisions. so what can the senate do in the face of this threat to freedom? all three branches of the government have a spopt to protect people's rights, and if one branch doesn't do its job, that's how this system was set up constitutionally, then it's up to another to step in. congress must act to codify the principles of roe v. wade into law, and we will have the opportunity to do just that on the floor today when we cast our votes on the women's health protection act. these protections are
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desperately needed, and it is our responsibility to take action so that this fundamental right remains real for the women and the men who stand with them across this country. freedom, equality under the law. for the first time in generations, and i want young people out there to think about this, we may live in a world where women have fewer rights than their moms or their grandmas. that's not the world that we want. i urge my colleagues to stand up with the majority of americans who support a woman's right to make her own health care decision, the freedom to make her decisions, by enshrining the protections of roe v. wade into law. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i've never seen so much furor over a
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case that has not been decided, based on a leaked draft dated february of this year, which does not reflect a final decision by the united states supreme court. unfortunately, this egregious leak of this draft opinion has created serious security threats for members of the supreme court and their families. over the last few days, angry protestors have shown up at three of the justices' private family homes. sadly, the majority leader of the senate said he's okay with peaceful protests outside the justices' homes. i disagree. and so does his second in command. this morning senator durbin called this practice reprehensible. the threats to justices remain high because emotions are high, and the chief justice has asked
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copping to take action -- congress to take action to protect the justices and their families by simply providing the same sort of authorities that the capitol police has to provide protection to members of congress and our families. last week i introduced legislation that would do that. i asked my friend and frequent collaborator, senator coons, if he would be interested in cosponsoring the bill to make it bipartisan. initially he raised some concerns -- initially he raised some concerns with one of the provisions, but we worked in good faith and introduced a new version of the bill that could gain broad bipartisan support. and clearly we were successful because our bill passed the senate unanimously on monday. and now it's time for our colleagues in the house to follow suit.
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yesterday congressman issa and congressman corea introduced this bill in the house and speaker pelosi should act quickly to bring this bill up for a vote as soon as possible. unfortunately, some in the house disagree. they've chosen to ignore the bipartisan bill that received unanimous support in the senate and have introduced a partisan version, which is guaranteed to slow down the protections needed by the supreme court justices and their families. this partisan bill in the house ignores the good faith work that wasei legislation include divisive provisions like potentially extending police protection to the very person who leaked stands no chance of becoming law. at the end of the day, here's where we are.
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the supreme court justices and their families are facing serious security threats, and the senate unanimously passed a bill to provide them with the protection that they need and that he deserve. -- and they deserve. i can't think of any good reason why house democrats would delay a vote on this bipartisan bill or, worse it allow the safety of the justices' families to become a political football. now, mr. president, on another matter, later today the senate will vote on appear radical abortion-on-demand bill, which our democratic colleagues are trying to sell as a codification of roe v. wade. but the truth of the matter is, this bill sweeps aside all of the protections, for example,
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for conscience or religious liberty or opposing taxpayer funding of abortions and partial-birth abortions. it sweeps all that aside and essentially makes abortion available on demand from the time of conception till the time of delivery. now, this isn't the first time our friends across the aisle have tried to opportunistically capitalize on events to check items off their liberal wish list. in fact, we've witnessed this strategy numerous times. when the pandemic first hit, the house democratic whip referred to the crisis as a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit their vision. and, to their credit, our democratic colleagues certainly didn't squander that opportunity. last year they crafted a nearly $2 trillion spending bill that
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included most of the far left's outbox, their biggest priorities, and they tried to brand it as necessary pandemic relief, which it was not. backdoor funding for planned parenthood, a blank check for mismanaged union pension funds, money for climate justice. it was easy to see through this covid relief facade because in the end less than 10% of the money was directly related to the pandemic, and less than one percent supported vaccination efforts. we saw the same play when it came to election law. states across the country established temporary measures during the pandemic to ensure that voters could cast a ballot during some of the most worrisome days of the pandemic. when those temporary procedures were rolled back to what they were before the pandemic, our colleagues tried to frame that
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as voter suppression. they resurrected a bill that would force a one-size-fits-all election formula out of washington, d.c., on every state and community in the country. and, in the process, hand democrats a permanent governing majority. and democrats tried to cast anyone who opposed their partisan bills attacking the sacred right to vote, which it was not. but here we're seeing the same play once again. our colleagues are now trying to seize on the political firestorm from a stolen supreme court draft opinion to push their radical abortion agenda. and, make no doubt about it, it is truly extreme. just as they did with their pandemic spending spree and election takeover bill, democrats have taken things to
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the very nth degree and they're pushing for things that are far out of line with most americans over this divisive sand emotional topic. only 19% of americans say that abortion should be available in all cases with no exceptions. 1%. -- 19%. that means 81% disagree. even though the vast majority of americans oppose unrestricted abortion access, that's exactly what this bill would provide. this bill would allow for abortions at any stage of a pregnancy. all it takes is one health care provider who says having the baby would present a potential harm to the mother's health, including her mental health, and i mentioned yesterday the case of emmitt gosnell who ultimately is serving life in prison for
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running an abortion factory involving late-term abortions and other illegal abortions performed in pennsylvania. so where's the line here? where's the line? democrats see no line. they don't credit an unborn child with its very humanity, or else they would see some sort of balancing against the mother's right to physical autonomy and the child's right to life guaranteed in our declaration of independence. is anxiety about motherhood a strong enough diagnosis to allow a woman who's 39 weeks pregnant to abort her baby? anxiety can be a serious struggle that many prospective mothers face. there's no question about that. that's why i've been advocating
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for better access to health care services for all americans, including expecting and new moms. but this legislation is written so broadly that in practice it legalizes abortion for virtually any reason up until the time the baby is actually delivered. now, the american people aren't only ones who oppose unlimited abortion on demand. this bill doesn't just codify roe v. wade. it goes far beyond the abortion policies among other countries, like those in europe, for example. in most european countries, abortion access is restricted after a certain point in the pregnancy. in sweden, it's 18 weeks of pregnancy. in france, it's 14 weeks. in germany it's 12 weeks. in portugal, 10 weeks.
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each of these limits are more restrictive than the current law in a number of american states a. including blue states like massachusetts and nevada. abortions are restricted after 24 weeks. in california, washington and illinois abortions are restricted after viability, an arbitrary line roughly 20 weeks of gestation, 20 to 23 weeks of gestation. but under this extreme bill, one health care provider could stop an otherwise constitutional state law protecting the life of this unborn child in its tracks. even though most americans oppose late-term abortions, our democratic colleagues are running full speed ahead in order to permit it under this
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extreme bill. they're so desperate to make abortion on demand the law of the land, that this legislation has the support of all but a handful of democrats in congress. as pushing for policies that only 19% of americans support. this is proof once again that today's democratic party is peo. it's taking their marching orders from the most radical, most radical and extreme members of their political party. our colleagues are trying to frame this legislation as codifying roe v. wade, a 1973 opinion 50 years ago, but in reality this radical bill goes much, much farther.
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this doesn't just maintain the status quo, it moves abortion policies in the direction of those of the people's republic of china and north korea and ass way from those of our friends and allies in europe. i would think that's not company we would feel comfortable keeping, with the people's republic of china run by the chinese communist party, and north korea, home of kim jong-un. in addition allowing abortions up to the time of delivery, this bill allows abortions to be used as a method of sex selection, a shameful practice that became common in china under its one-child policy. a number of states have laws on the book that prevent someone from having an abortion based on the baby's sex. in other words, a parent who's hoping for a son cannot just have an abortion because the baby is a girl.
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but this bill would change that. it would invalidate state laws that prevent same-sex selective abortions. this bill would make further changes that endanger the very women who are receiving abortions. for example, it rolls back a commonsense provision including requirements that only a licensed physician can perform or prescribe an abortion. it removes guidelines for how abortion facilities are regulated and maintained. and it removes commonsense safeguards like informed consent laws and waiting periods. along with all of these radical and extreme changes, this legislation comes with no guarantees that taxpayers won't be asked to foot the bill. -- for these elective procedures. and it provides no protection
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for babies who survive a botched abortion. it puts health care providers with religious or moral opposition to abortion in an impossible position. they have to disregard their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs or they get sued. this isn't the woman's health protection act. it's the abortion-on-demand act, without restrictions, without limitations. it promotes abortion at a scale far beyond roe v. wade and far beyond what the vast majority of the american people are comfortable with. so this is not a serious effort to codify roe, and it certainly isn't an attempt to reinstate policies that are in line with most americans' view on this very emotional and divisive issue. but this is -- what this is is pandering to the most radical
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elements in their party. the good news is that democrats still don't have the votes to pass this bill. given the opposition of the vast majority of americans, i doubt they ever will. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, this is a debate about the women's health protection act. protecting women's health. protecting half of america's health care, protecting their ability, half of america, protecting their ability to make decisions about their own
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bodies. how is this even a question of -- question up for debate? today the senate considers the women's health protection act. a woman's right to make choices about her own body is a constitutional right. it was affirmed by the supreme court nearly 50 years ago. polling is that that should be the benchmark by which we legislate shows that two out of three americans say roe v. the benchmark of roe v. wade should be upheld. here we are today, a body of 100, 76% of which are male, making decisions about the private lives about the nearly 168 million women in this country. that's ludicrous.
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the right of any one woman to receive the health care they choose and seek should be important to each and every one of us. women, our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, friends. they know what's best for them in their own lives. how patronizing to suggest otherwise. how patriarchial, how insulting, how dangerous. i'm the dean of the senate. i'm the longest-serving member of this body today. i worked for decades to support legislation that affirms contraceptive health care from a trusted provider without interference. the right to family planning resources, whatever those resources may be is not only a fundamental right to privacy for these women, but it's an
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important public policy. a public health policy as well. in 2019, the vermont house and senate by wide margins approved the freedom of choice act. that guarantees the right to access safe abortion care in vermont. a republican signed that bill into law in june 2019. if the court does overturn roe, the freedom of choice act would protect the health care right in vermont, just as the supreme court case was ahead of roe v. wade, beecher v. leahy does the same. once again vermont is a leader on an issue of national
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significance. but the unfortunate reality is that 26 other states stand ready to ban abortion rights in the absence of roe. what are the women of these states to do? prominent republican voices in the senate even now say they would not rule out the possibility that a future senate in congress would overrule such state laws in vermont and elsewhere and impose a national ban on women's choice. what laws are these states prepared to pass? what resources are they prepared to provide to support these women and the children they'll bear? the answer, we know, and i fear, is none. we'll determine what you do, but we won't do anything to help you afterwards.
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the implications of the supreme court's opinion should the final decision mirror the leaked draft goes far beyond reproductive rights. for decades the supreme court has stood as an independent arbiter in this country. striking down a constitutional right that has supported millions of americans -- not just women -- will cause many to lose confidence in the integrity of our judicial system. or still it could threaten the rights protected under the precedent set by roe and affirmed in other cases. i acknowledge the fear that many are feeling right now about that possibility. certainly i hear it in my office. and that's why we need to pass the women's health protection
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act. what the suffragists say of us today? what would the icons of the civil rights movement say about us today? a vote against the women's protection act is a vote against equality. it's a vote against women, plain and simple. it's a vote against the progress we made to right the wrongs of inequality. it's at odds with what the overwhelming majority of the american public believes. it says in many states in this country, women will be treated differently than men. you know, mr. president, my sons and grandsons can travel anywhere in the united states knowing the law is the same for them. my daughter and granddaughters, under this, would know they could not be treated the same as they traveled around the country
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what does that say about america? that our sons and our grandsons will be treated differently than our daughters and our granddaughters. our daughters and our granddaughters will be told by these states, you have less rights than your brothers or your fathers or your uncles. so shame on the senate today. i stand with women. my wife, my daughter, my granddaughters, when i say i trust them to make the health decisions that are best for them. and i'll fight against any effort to erode these fundamental constitutional rights. that's what the senate should do. at


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