Wednesday February 28th, 2024

On Senate Floor, Cortez Masto Blasts Senate Republicans For Blocking Bill to Protect Women’s Access To IVF

“The threat to IVF is no longer hypothetical. …And it won’t stop with Alabama – the consequences of this ruling will have a chilling national impact.”

Washington, D.C – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) spoke on the Senate floor blasting Senate Republicans for blocking Senator Tammy Duckworth’s (D-Ill.) Access to Family Building Act. In the wake of last week’s Alabama Supreme Court ruling threatening women’s access to IVF, Senate Democrats called for the passage of this legislation to protect access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology that millions of Americans rely on to start and grow their families.

Senator Cortez Masto has been a fierce advocate for women’s reproductive rights—spearheading legislation to ensure legal protections for women seeking reproductive care across state lines and to make certain that women in the U.S. have access to affordable over-the-counter birth control. She’s also fighting to protect the data privacy of women in search of reproductive health care.

Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery:

“M. President, first I want to start off by thanking Senator Duckworth for sharing the story of her two daughters. I’ve seen myself what a wonderful mother Tammy is and her fantastic girls. I also want to thank her for bringing forward this important legislation.

Women across the country use IVF to start and grow their families. You’re hearing that not only from Senator Duckworth, but I’ve heard it from so many people in Nevada and really across the country. They make that choice in consultation with their partners, their families, and their doctors—not a government official. Not a government official.

There is no logical reason to deny women that right. And yet, after Roe v. Wade fell, we could see from a mile away that IVF was in danger. Senator Duckworth was one of the first who came forward in recognizing that, and that’s why her legislation is so important.

Why? Because attacking IVF was yet another chance for anti-choice Republicans to erode women’s rights. They’ve introduced a federal abortion ban that would supersede state laws.

They’ve stacked the courts with anti-choice judges. They’ve limited funding to women’s health care. And they have repeatedly ignored the very science behind reproductive health care in order to push their agenda. We knew this was coming.

In fact, we tried to do something about it a year ago. After Roe was overturned, not only did Senator Duckworth come to the Senate floor with her legislation, we’ve introduced numerous [pieces of] legislation on this floor to protect women’s rights. And every single time, unfortunately, one of our Republican colleagues comes forward to object – without any explanation. But they’re continuing to really erode women’s rights in this country.

And I have to say these extreme GOP colleagues of ours claim to be ‘pro-life’. They claim to champion family planning. But when it comes down to it, they don’t support it. You just have to be in our communities and listen to the women and their families and you understand that.

The difference this time around is that the Alabama Supreme Court is actually calling their bluff. The threat to IVF is no longer hypothetical. In response to the ruling, and I believe it’s an extreme ruling from this judge. But in response to this ruling some clinics in Alabama have halted IVF procedures. They’ve halted them.

I have seen heartbreaking stories of Alabama families who are being forced to put their dreams of starting a family on hold, I’m here to tell you it won’t stop with Alabama – the consequences of this ruling, not only will close of those clinics that we’ve heard about in Alabama, but it will have a chilling impact nationally.

It’s one thing to have the [ruling] that bans it outright, but the chilling impact is another barrier. If you are threatening women, if you’re threatening their families, if you’re threatening doctors that want to help these women, that has a chilling effect even in Nevada. Even in Nevada.

These extreme GOP politicians are seeing this, quite frankly, and they’re suddenly stuck. They have to decide whether to agree with this anti-choice decision or to concede that women should be allowed this basic right to choose if, when, and how to become a parent. Suddenly, they have to decide just how far they are willing to go in their crusade to control women.

Having a child through IVF is a wonderful thing. It is not a crime, and it should not be punished. Our anti-choice Republican colleagues know this, and yet they have once again refused to do the right thing for American families by supporting protections for accessing IVF.

And let me just finally say their hypocrisy is on full display, and America is watching.

You don’t have to believe me. Just listen to the American public. Across this country, it’s women I hear from. It’s their loved ones, it’s men. I don’t care what party you are. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Republican, if you’re nonpartisan.

A majority of Americans want women to have this right to choose. They want them to have this ability. They believe in having families. They believe in IVF. They believe in women’s reproductive rights. And most importantly, what some of our Republican colleagues are doing is inhibiting and limiting women’s access to 21st century health care.

That’s what this is about.

Why should we deny women the right to access 21st century health care if it’s going to save their lives? If it’s going to help them have families? What is wrong with that at the end of the day?

So I have to thank Senator Duckworth. It’s unfortunate that we had an objection to her legislation that is so needed. Unfortunately in this day and age, but it is. That’s where we are today—fighting for women’s rights, fighting across this country.

Finally, my only other question to my colleagues is, I trust women to make this decision. Why don’t they?”



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