TRANSCRIPT: Kirsten Gillibrand 5/6/2019

Hi guys,

If you’re not on Senator Gillibrand’s campaign-specific mailing list, they sent out a transcript of her comments on the abortion ban. I’ve attached it below.

— Marcus

I’m proud to be in Georgia today, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with these women and the millions of people around the country who are outraged and fighting for our reproductive and civil rights.

Thank you all for joining us here, and for all the tireless work you have already done and are doing to protect access to healthcare for Georgians.

You all are leaders in this fight and I am joining you. I am here to learn from you, and I intend to use my platform to shine a light on what’s happening here in Georgia, and the deeply personal and troubling impact it’s having on women here. And I will lead the fight for women's civil rights across the country.

Right now, entirely too much of the conversation about what women can do with our own bodies is being driven by a group of right-wing male politicians. It’s time for that conversation to be led by the actual experts: women and doctors.

So I’m here today to speak to the people who are most directly affected by these horrifying bills, and make sure as many people as possible can hear their voices.

I feel deeply moved by the stories I heard today. About the mom who was so worried about her life and the life of her child and had to make the most heart wrenching decisions she could possibly make. These are the stories of the reality of women across America. And of the male legislator who said ‘why are men making all these decisions?’ It’s an outrage. And in Alabama, all white men made a decision to criminalize basic health care.

It’s clear that the laws passing here in Georgia, and in states across the country, represent the greatest threat to reproductive freedom we have faced since Roe v. Wade.

And we know that this is not a hypothetical threat. As we heard from the doctor’s behind us- from the providers. They know what it’s like to lose patients. From the advocates who said when you make abortion illegal, it doesn’t stop abortion, it just stops save abortions. Women’s lives will be in danger if legislation like Georgia’s is allowed to stand, especially for low-income women, black women and women of color will suffer the most.

That is why we must come together to declare that reproductive rights are human rights, they are civil rights, and they are nonnegotiable.

The horrifying fact is that this is not just happening in Georgia. Just last night, the governor of Alabama signed a law that completely outlaws almost all abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. It criminalizes doctors and threatens them with life in prison for providing patients with basic health care.

Already this year, Mississippi, Ohio and Kentucky have all passed six-week abortion bans, with similar bills introduced in 10 other states. These are just some of the over 250 bills filed across the majority of state legislatures to restrict abortion access—just this year.

We need to call this what it is: A nationwide assault on women’s constitutional rights, by ideological extremists who have no right to make these most intimate and personal decisions a woman or a family can make.

And they have one end goal: Overturning Roe v. Wade, and turning back the clock on women’s civil rights and human rights in this country.

As a candidate, Donald Trump said he would punish women for accessing abortion, and as president, he’s made good on that promise by stacking the Supreme Court with anti-choice extremists Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Over in Alabama, the lieutenant governor said the quiet part out loud about this: He fully admitted that the ban is intended to challenge Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. All while the Supreme Court overturned a 40 year precedent in another case putting Roe at even graver risk.

This is a battle being waged on all fronts, and that’s where we have to fight it: in the courts, in the states, in Congress, and in the White House.

We will fight back.

There are two key ways we need to fight back: at the ballot box, and by standing up for an unequivocally pro-choice agenda.

State elections matter. The people who represent us in our state houses are making important decisions that affect our lives just as much as Congress—and we need to make sure decisions aren’t being made about us, without us.

In Alabama, women make up just 15 percent of the legislature—among the worst gender ratios in the country.

But let’s be very clear: In order to make sure all of our voices are heard, we have to fight attempts to suppress the votes of people of color and young people. We can’t defend the rest of our civil rights if we don’t protect our right to vote.

Second, as president, I will both defend reproductive rights from political attacks and make guaranteeing and expanding those rights my priority.

Last week, I was the first presidential candidate to roll out a robust reproductive rights agenda. I will only nominate judges — including Supreme Court justices — who will commit to upholding Roe v. Wade as settled law.

I’m going a significant step further today, because as Republicans continue to attack our rights, I’m sick and tired of being on defense. I’m sick and tired of taking one step back everyday. I’m sick and tired of more and more women across the country losing access to health care.

So today I’m making clear that enough is enough. As President I will take the following key steps to ensure that every woman in America - no matter what state she lives in, or how much money she has in her pocket - can have guaranteed access to safe, legal abortion.

First, as President, I will codify Roe v. Wade into law to make it clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that women in this country have a guaranteed right to abortion.

Second, I will end the Hyde Amendment, which disproportionately blocks women of color and women with low incomes from getting access to abortion services.

And third, in the most sweeping step I’d take as president, I will guarantee access to reproductive healthcare – including abortion – no matter what state you live in.

I would ensure that no state can prevent private insurance from covering abortion as reproductive healthcare.

I would create a funding stream to ensure reproductive health center access in every state and every region of the country.

And I would ensure that no state can pass laws that chip away at access to reproductive care or criminalize reproductive healthcare providers. Federal law would supersede those harmful state laws that take away women’s reproductive freedom.

I believe access to abortion is a constitutionally recognized right, and I’m not afraid to follow through and guarantee it with the power of the federal government.

This is about the fundamental question of whether we value women and see them as human beings equal to anyone else—and any Democrat who expects to win the presidency must answer definitively.

Finally, we must continue to support the local organizations, women we heard from today, who are fighting this fight on the frontlines of our communities, in communities like Atlanta and across the country. They are putting everything on the line to provide this deeply necessary health care to people who need it—women of color, low-income women, young people and LGBTQ people in particular.

I’m proud that I am in this fight and I am proud that I am supported by the activists behind me and I am proud to be supported by the millions of men and women who do not support these radical bans on women’s reproductive freedoms.  

I’ll tell you one thing. If this is a fight that President Trump wants. If this is a fight that he wants with the American people, if this is a fight that he wants with  America’s women - it is a fight he will have and it is a fight he will lose.