February 29, 2024

Chairman Aguilar: Extreme MAGA Republicans are preparing for a nationwide abortion ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu held a press conference alongside Congresswoman Terri Sewell on House Republicans doubling down on their attacks on reproductive freedom after partisan justices on the Alabama Supreme Court jeopardized access to fertility treatments like IVF.

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Good morning, good morning. So pleased to be joined by my colleagues today, and the Democratic Caucus was very excited to welcome back our colleague, Congressman Tom Suozzi, back to the House of Representatives. The people of New York's Third District are finally getting what they deserve: a problem solver who is ready to deliver and to defend the freedoms of working families. 

In contrast, last week, Extreme MAGA Republicans carried on their anti-abortion movement, and they secured another legal victory. This time, the Alabama Supreme Court jeopardized the use of IVF in the state. While gut-wrenching, this is exactly what Republicans have been fighting for–and their record is clear. 

After Republicans swallowed their pride and supported Donald Trump, he made good on his pledge to stack the Supreme Court with partisan judges that would overturn Roe v. Wade. This is something that he openly bragged about. 

In Congress, 96 percent of House Republicans turned their backs on women and voted against the Right to Contraception Act. 147 Republicans signed the amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to ban mifepristone. And now, the Speaker of the House and 169 other Congressional Republicans have sponsored a bill that would end IVF as we know it. All of this happening today, while Republicans continue their march across America to restrict abortion access. 

Don't let MAGA Republicans tell you any differently: they are preparing a nationwide abortion ban that would end reproductive freedom in all 50 states. The American people are going to see through these lies and their desperate attempts to change their own records. 

And now, even as we have a funding deal in place, Extreme MAGA Republicans continue to shove their extremist agenda down the throats of working families. We've been down this road before. The extremists continue to torpedo bipartisan deals–that's been the hallmark of this Congress. House Democrats will not allow any policy riders that gut life-saving programs and limit access to reproductive care. We want common sense solutions to fund our government, fulfill our national security needs and secure our southern border. Now, let's get this done. 

Now, Vice Chair Ted Lieu.

VICE CHAIR LIEU: Thank you, Chairman Aguilar. Their star witness for the Republicans’ sham impeachment proceedings was indicted by the Department of Justice for lying about Hunter Biden and for spreading Russian disinformation. Public reports are that this star witness met with Russian intelligence. So, what we have here are Republican Members who have been trying to take out an American president through impeachment using Russian disinformation. Not only should these impeachment proceedings stop, but the Republicans that were spreading this Russian disinformation should apologize to the American people. They're essentially using Russian disinformation to try to impeach an American president. This is anti-American, traitorous conduct.

Additional anti-American conduct we see come from the House Republicans who are unwilling to put a national security supplemental that passed with bipartisan support from the U.S. Senate on the House floor. Speaker Johnson has repeatedly said he wants the House to “work its will.” Well, guess what, how does the House work its will? We vote. Just put the bill on the floor for a vote. Let us vote. Maybe it'll pass, maybe it won't pass. But if you don't want it to pass, then you make your argument of why you don't want it to pass. We think it's going to pass but let the House vote. That's how the House works its will. Not behind closed doors with Speaker Johnson and crazy people like Marjorie Taylor Greene. That's not how the House works its will. We work our will by simply voting. 

And then, the third thing I'd like to talk about is how Republicans not only want to ban abortion, they now want to ban IVF. We have with us an amazing Representative, Terri Sewell from Alabama, who’s going to discuss what's happening in Alabama, as well as across the nation, with regards to IVF.

CONGRESSWOMAN SEWELL: I'm Congresswoman Sewell of Alabama's Seventh Congressional District. As the only Democrat in Alabama's Congressional Delegation and the only woman in Alabama's House Delegation, I join in expressing my outrage over the recent ruling effectively banning IVF treatments for women who are simply trying to have children. 

This decision is alarming and unacceptable, and we are already seeing its chilling effects as clinics cut off fertility treatments in fear of prosecution. On Tuesday, my office hosted HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra for a roundtable discussion in Birmingham, Alabama, to hear directly from Alabama women on how they will be impacted. Many of them have spent years desperately trying to have children, some have devoted their life savings to fertility treatment, only to have their hopes and dreams ripped away by Republican judges on the Alabama Supreme Court. 

Patients undergoing IVF already face significant emotional, physical and financial challenges, and this decision will only add to their fears and anxieties. Let me be clear, women in Alabama, and across this nation, deserve access to a full range of reproductive health services, and that includes women who would like to grow their families, but have had difficulty doing so. 

Frankly, it is actually unimaginable that in the year 2024 we would be fighting this fight. Surely, reproductive freedom was a battle that my mother's generation won, but everywhere we look, old battles have become new again as MAGA Extremists work to erode our hard-fought rights and freedoms and roll back our progress. Make no mistake, while some of our colleagues across the aisle are attempting to backtrack the role that Republican officials have played in creating this nightmare, they still own it. Even today, over 60 House Republicans, including Speaker Johnson himself, are currently co-sponsoring legislation that will ban IVF nationwide. 

We cannot stand by as politicians work to strip women of their reproductive rights, nor can we accept a world where women today enjoy fewer rights and freedoms than their mothers and their grandmothers. House Democrats are working hard every day to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law and to protect the reproductive freedom of all women, everywhere. 

With that, I want to thank my colleagues for allowing me to go on record about this alarming decision by the Alabama Supreme Court and how this is really owned by MAGA Extremists and by House Republicans. 

Video of the full press conference and Q&A can be viewed here.