Schumer tees up action on bill to establish national right to abortion

June 17, 2024

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday took action to set up a vote on the Reproductive Freedom for Women Act, which would reestablish a national right to an abortion before the third trimester of pregnancy by enshrining the protections of Roe v. Wade.

The floor action sets up the third vote this month on protecting women’s access to reproductive health care, following votes on the Right to Contraception Act and the Right to IVF Act. Republicans blocked both measures.

“A few moments ago I took the first procedural step to place on the legislative calendar the Reproductive Freedom for Women Act, cosponsored by Sen. Murray and myself and cosponsored by all the women senators on the Democratic side,” Schumer announced on the Senate floor.

“This calls for enshrining the protections of Roe v. Wade into law,” he said.

The vote is expected to take place next month, as the Senate will be out of town for a two-week recess during the last week of June and first week of July. Senators will be out of session on Wednesday in observance of Juneteenth and are not expected to return to work Thursday.

Schumer slammed Republicans for blocking the two bills earlier this month to protect access to contraception and in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.

“In the last two weeks, Senate Republicans have shown for all their attempts to sound moderate on reproductive freedom, when it comes to [a] vote, they’re falling in line with MAGA extremists,” he said. “This month, Senate Republicans have already blocked legislation protecting commonsense reproductive care like contraception and IVF.”

Republicans argued the two bills advanced by Democrats related to contraception and IVF were drafted too broadly and included “poison pill” provisions they couldn’t accept.

GOP senators say they support Americans’ access to contraception and in vitro fertilization and accuse Democrats of whipping up public fear over nonexistent threats to people’s access to health care.

But Schumer, speaking on the Senate floor Monday, pointed to a provision included in the House’s annual defense authorization bill and former President Trump’s comments to Republican lawmakers last week to argue that the threat to women’s reproductive rights is very real.

“House Republicans voted overwhelmingly on Friday to pass the defense funding bill with hard-right poison pills restricting access to reproductive care for our service members,” he said. “And Donald Trump, while speaking to Republicans on Capitol Hill last week, attacked the decision of Roe, and said abortion should be left to the states, even if states pass terrible restrictions on women’s freedoms.”