Wednesday, February 28, 2024



John Russell (LGBTQ  Nation) reports:

The vice mayor of an Oklahoma City suburb called out the state’s Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters, the entire state board of education, and Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik for creating the environment of anti-LGBTQ+ hostility that he and other advocates say led to the death of 16-year-old Nex Benedict.

A business owner and the vice mayor of The Village, Sean Cummings spoke directly to Walters and members of the Oklahoma State Board of Education at a public meeting last week, accusing them of “emboldening” the students who attacked Benedict in a bathroom at Owasso High School in Owasso, Oklahoma, earlier this month. Benedict, who friends say was trans and primarily used he/him pronouns, said he’d been bullied by the three students because of his gender identity prior to the violent altercation on February 7 in which he was reportedly beaten until he blacked out. Benedict died the next day. Authorities have not yet determined a cause of death.

“You and your rhetoric and your inability to do anything as a board here are partially responsible for emboldening bullies to jump a [student] in the bathroom,” Cummings said at the February 22 meeting.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, February 29, 2024.  Another hospital shuts down in Gaza, Michigan voters send a message by voting "uconommitted," Senators Patty Murray, Tammy Baldwin, Tammy Duckworth, Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Schumer address the need for IVF, and much more.

Yesterday, voters in Michigan turned out for the primaries.  When the polls closed, Lavora Barnes -- Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party -- released the following statement: 
“The energy and enthusiasm we saw around this early primary in Michigan is why we fought so hard for it. Now we will bring this energy forward to the general election where the choice between Joe Biden and Donald Trump couldn’t be more clear. Do we want a President who spreads hate and division or a president who fights for all of us? We look forward to making our voices heard again in November when we will reject Donald Trump’s MAGA extremism and ensure that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can continue to deliver for Michiganders. Michigan Democrats are ready to get to work from now through election day because the stakes could not be higher.”

With almost all the votes counted (99%), the results were 2.7% for Dean Phillips, 3% for Marianne Williamson,  13.3% for uncommitted and 81.1% for Joe Biden.  

13.3%?  If Ron DeSantis could have posted that in a Republican primary (not a caucus), he'd still be in the race.  

Michigan voters sent up a flare.  The Biden campaign is run by idiots if they don't address it.  

  More than 100,900 Michigan voters marked "uncommitted" on their ballots during the swing state's Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday, a signal to President Joe Biden that his continued support for Israel's war on Gaza is angering key elements of his base and potentially threatening his reelection chances.

Leaders and supporters of the Listen to Michigan campaign made clear that their goal was not to harm Biden's general election prospects, but rather to convince him to change course on Gaza, where the U.S.-armed Israeli military has killed nearly 30,000 people in less than five months.

In 2020, Biden defeated former President Donald Trump—his likely general election opponent in November—by 150,000 votes, and Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton four years earlier by roughly 11,000 votes.

"We need Joe Biden to listen to the voice of Michiganders," Layla Elabed, campaign manager for Listen to Michigan and the sister of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), told reporters late Tuesday. "Listen to the voice of his core constituents and demand a permanent cease-fire now and the ending of this unconditional, unchecked funding to Israel." 

Kelsey Ables and Andrew Jeong (WASHINGTON POST) explain, ""More than 100,900 Democratic presidential primary voters (13.3 percent) were uncommitted after 98 percent of the votes had been counted early Wednesday. In the last two presidential elections, the number of uncommitted Democratic primary votes in Michigan has hovered around 20,000, and not passed 2 percent of the total vote." Julia Conley (COMMON DREAMS) adds:

In the latest sign that the Biden administration's continued defense and support of Israel's assault on Gaza leaves it representing a shrinking minority of Americans, a new poll out Tuesday found that 67% of Americans of all political affiliations want the United States to join the international call for a permanent cease-fire.

That's up six points from progressive think tank Data for Progress's last poll, taken in November.

Support for a cease-fire among Democratic voters remains strong, with 77% saying U.S. President Joe Biden should demand a permanent cessation of hostilities and a de-escalation in violence. Sixty-nine percent of Independents said the same, up from 61% in December, as well as 56% of Republicans, up from 49%. 

oth Democrats and Independents were far more likely to disagree with the idea that the U.S. should wait until Hamas is defeated to call for a cease-fire. Since October, Israel has killed at least 29,878 Palestinians, including more than 11,500 children. A near-total blockade on humanitarian aid has pushed about a quarter of the enclave's population to "the edge of famine," according to U.N. humanitarian affairs chief Ramesh Rajasingham.

Biden said Monday that he is hopeful for a cease-fire "by next Monday," but current talks between Hamas and Israel, which are being mediated by Qatar, are reportedly about a temporary cessation in violence. 

EMAN ABDELHADI: Is Michigan lost to Biden? Is there anything Biden could do to win it back at this point? 

LAYLA ELABED: Before we can even talk about Biden getting support at the ballot box, the very minimum that the Biden administration would need to do, for us to talk about what support would look like come November, is support a permanent cease-fire and a reevaluation of our policy of unchecked, unconditional military funding to Israel.

ABDELHADI: How did the Vote Uncommitted” campaign come about? What has your role been?

ELABED: I’m the campaign manager for Listen to Michigan’s Vote Uncommitted” campaign. This came about because of the frustration and the discontent that so many Democratic voters feel right now. Especially because some 80% of Democratic voters are pro-cease-fire. Talking with other Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, our pro-ceasefire community, our anti-war community, we really were like, What can we do? How can we leverage our political power at this point with the Michigan primary election coming up?” 

The methodology around Uncommitted” really came out of the 2008 Obama campaign. In 2008, Obama did not make the ballot in the Michigan primaries, but his campaign was able to mobilize young voters, Black voters and voters of color to vote Uncommitted” as a rejection of Hillary Clinton, and it really embarrassed the Clinton campaign. And so we took that and applied it to our current Democratic primary with Joe Biden. 

One of the reasons it’s not okay to vote for a different Democratic candidate is because the whole institution of the Democratic Party has really turned on their constituency, has turned on their base. We can see the majority of our Democratic leaders, our Democratic elected officials haven’t supported a cease-fire, and haven’t been vocal enough about ending the genocide. We have our champions like Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib (note: Elabed’s sister). But on the whole, especially at the federal level, we’re not seeing condemnation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing government. So that’s how this came about. We had a group of young and old Michigan organizers and this campaign is not only multi-generational, it’s multi-faith, it’s multi-racial, and it’s really, really grassroots. It’s being led by community organizers in Michigan and supported by national folks, national organizations, national organizers. But it really is organic.

Shweta Kukreti (HINDUSTAN TIMES) notes that not everyone can handle discussing the events in Michigan: 

American broadcaster Anderson Cooper surprisingly snapped at a guest discussing the plight of Gazans & asserted that “we don't need to debate” on the conflict.

At a time when the world is pushing for truce talks amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, American broadcaster Anderson Cooper surprisingly snapped at a guest discussing the plight of Gazans and asserted that “we don't need to debate” on the conflict.

During a CNN panel discussion on Tuesday, Cooper interrupted former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner as she acknowledged some Arab-Americans' hesitancy to support incumbent President Joe Biden. Following this, the host asserted that the viewers "don't really need a lecture on the problem" and would like to know more about "the politics of this tonight.

[. . .]

As the discussion progressed, CNN panel members emphasised the 'uncommitted' protest vote, which had reached nearly 16 percent.

Turner then went on to target Biden by reflecting on the pain of the Arab-American and Palestinian community.

“And so while this president was in the ice cream shop saying, ‘I think there’s going to be a ceasefire,’ 30,000 people have been slaughtered. People are living in famine. They can’t get medical care. So it can’t come soon enough for them, and that was really the weight that I picked up on when I was in Dearborn, [Michigan],” she said.

Copper jumped in when Turner highlighted the efforts of Rashida Tlaib and other Congress members who have been calling for a ceasefire.

William Vaillancourt (DAILY BEAST) adds:

“All I‘m saying is that at a certain point after October 7, it becomes clear. I mean, you have a right-wing prime minister,” she began, before Cooper interrupted.

“Right. We don’t need to debate the issue,” he claimed.

“I’m not denying anybody’s pain,” Turner continued. “What I am saying is that this president—and our country—has the power to say to [Benjamin] Netanyahu: We need a permanent ceasefire.”

 Gaza remains under assault. Day 145 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  NBC NEWS notes, "More than 29,900 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began , according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. More than 70,300 have been injured, and thousands more are missing and presumed dead." Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."   

This morning, ALJAZEERA notes:

Al-Awda Hospital in the city of Jabalia, northern Gaza, has announced the complete suspension of all its medical services due to severe shortages of fuel and medical supplies, according to the Wafa news agency.

The director of the monitoring and evaluation department in al-Awda, Dr Muhammad Salha, warned in a press statement that the development would lead to “a complete deprivation of basic health services for citizens, especially in light of the cessation of service by all hospitals in the north”, according to the report.

He urgently appealed to all international, humanitarian and human rights organisations to put pressure on Israel to supply the hospital with medicines, consumables, medical supplies and fuel.

The Israeli forces besieged al-Awda Hospital for 18 days, causing severe damage to the upper floors of the building, in addition to destroying a number of ambulances, the report said.


NBC News has joined broadcasters and other media organizations from around the world to call for access to Gaza to report on Israel's war with Hamas.

“Almost five months into the war in Gaza, foreign reporters are still being denied access to the territory, outside of the rare and escorted trips with the Israeli military," the letter says.

“We urge the governments of Israel and Egypt to allow free and unfettered access to Gaza for all foreign media. We call on the government of Israel to openly state its permission for international journalists to operate in Gaza and for the Egyptian authorities to allow international journalists access to the Rafah Crossing.”

Entry to the enclave for journalists has been all but impossible without the permission and supervision of the Israeli military. 

Palestinians are being increasingly targeted in the US.  Let's drop back to Monday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

We look now at how Palestinians are being increasingly targeted by U.S. anti-terrorism laws amidst ongoing efforts to conflate pro-Palestinian activism with so-called terrorism. The Anti-Defamation League, the ADL, has called on university presidents to investigate Students for Justice in Palestine, known as SJP, chapters for, quote, “material support for terrorism.” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has even compared SJP to the Hitler Youth.

JONATHAN GREENBLATT: Anti-Zionism is antisemitism. And the SJP and these kids who are pushing it are like the Hitler Youth. Sorry, I know people don’t like it when I say that, but it’s true. And what Shai said before is spot-on.

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, several American universities have suspended or banned Students for Justice in Palestine. In an interview in January with CNN’s Dana Bash, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed, without evidence, some protesters demanding a ceasefire in Gaza are connected to Russia, and urged the FBI to investigate them.

REP. NANCY PELOSI: For them to call for a ceasefire is Mr. Putin’s message. Mr. Putin’s message. Make no mistake: This is directly connected to what he would like to see. Same thing with Ukraine. It’s about Putin’s message. I think some of these — some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia. And I say that having looked at this for a long time now, as you know.

DANA BASH: You think some of these protests are Russian plants?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: I wouldn’t say they’re plants. I think some financing should be investigated. And I want to ask the FBI to investigate that.

AMY GOODMAN: She later would say, when people were protesting in San Francisco, “Go back to China.”

For more, we’re joined by two guests who have been following all of this closely. Darryl Li is an anthropologist and lawyer teaching at University of Chicago. He’s the author of the new briefing paper, “Anti-Palestinian at the Core: The Origins and Growing Dangers of U.S. Antiterrorism Law,” jointly published with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal. And we’re joined by Dima Khalidi, founder and director of Palestine Legal.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Darryl Li, let’s start with you. Talk about what you found.

DARRYL LI: Good morning, Amy. It’s good to be with you.

Well, I think many viewers of Democracy Now! are probably familiar with the way that Palestinians have been slandered and stereotyped as terrorists for a long time. What this report does is it reaches back and connects the dots of a longer history, going back almost 50 years, showing how the very foundations of terrorism law in the United States, at key moments of their development, were crafted with the agenda of opposing or crushing Palestinian liberation in mind.

The first time the word “terrorism” even shows up in federal law is in a 1969 statute, and it’s, unfortunately, very relevant today. This statute restricts U.S. aid to UNRWA, the U.N. body that provides humanitarian aid to refugees, and it uses the word “terrorism” essentially as a synonym for Palestinian resistance. And one of the chief sponsors of this legislation, Congressman Leonard Farbstein from New York, made a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives where he peddled the stereotype of UNRWA schools and Palestinian refugee camps, essentially, as hotbeds of terrorism that are brainwashing the sort of next generation of terrorists. So, in light of today’s campaigns to defund UNRWA and to deprive Palestinians of humanitarian aid, we can see that this is part of a much, much longer campaign that extends in many different directions.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about who is pushing these laws and what their agenda is, Darryl Li?

DARRYL LI: Yes. One of the other key aspects of the story is the role of organizations like the Anti-Defamation League in pushing for this legislation over time. And again, this is relevant for one of the clips that you just played, the clip of Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the ADL, accusing student activists, SJP of terrorism support — of being terrorism supporters. There’s a bit of a coming-full-circle moment here, because the ADL was actually one of the organizations that lobbied very heavily for the passage of this law that criminalizes so-called material support to terrorist organizations. The material support statute is actually the most commonly used charge in federal terrorism cases. And the reason why it’s prosecutors’ favorite tool is because it is incredibly broad. It criminalizes ordinary activity that would usually be covered and protected by the First Amendment. So it’s a very, very convenient weapon. And it was passed in the 1990s as the result of a long-running campaign by the ADL and other groups to essentially crack down on Palestinian community organizing and Palestinian solidarity organizing in the United States.

And what they did, actually, was they exploited the outrage following the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City. Now, many people will recall, of course, that the people who carried out that bombing were U.S. citizens, essentially right-wing white nationalist militia members. But the law that was passed as a result of the Oklahoma City bombing included — it was mostly a sort of get-tough-on-crime, crack-down-on-immigration bill that included the material support law that was proposed by the ADL as part of a larger package of measures that were all about, essentially, targeting Palestinian liberation movements.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Dima Khalidi, head of Palestine Legal, let’s be clear: It’s not only Students for Justice in Palestine that have been banned on some campuses, but also Jewish Voice for Peace.

DIMA KHALIDI: That’s right, Amy. We’ve seen over the last several months multiple efforts to shut down student activism. And that is a direct result of efforts by groups like the ADL, but also by statements by President Biden himself that have said that he will — he is mobilizing federal law enforcement to surveil campus activism. And these threats of surveillance, that Pelosi herself made, as well, are serious, and they reflect what we are saying in this report is a fundamentally anti-Palestinian agenda.

When the U.S. government, instead of stopping military aid to Israel to stop this genocide, is stopping funding for UNRWA, that is a lifeline for Gazans, this is the result of decades of anti-Palestinian rhetoric that has allowed these laws to develop, and that is, ultimately, in this moment when people are mobilizing to stop this genocide, a cover for the genocide. It is a justification for the dehumanization of Palestinians and their allies, to tar them with criminal or discriminatory intent. And that’s the intention of this report, is to really expose this anti-Palestinian agenda that is driving efforts to really expand these laws to target First Amendment activity that is trying to mobilize people for justice.

AMY GOODMAN: Palestine Legal has received multiple reports of the FBI harassing Palestine advocates for their social media posts. Can you describe some examples, Dima?

DIMA KHALIDI: Well, we and other legal organizations that are supporting people who are facing increasing repression are getting multiple reports of people being visited by the FBI, often because of social media posts that they make, because of their activism on the streets. And people have even been visited by ICE, immigration enforcement agencies. And this is a direct result, again, of this rhetoric, of this increase in surveillance resources to law enforcement agencies. And as we know from the post-9/11 era, the impact on our communities is enormous. It has a huge chilling effect on people, on First Amendment rights. But it also is a signal of an erosion of a whole host of constitutional rights when law enforcement is mobilized in this way, as we saw in the 1960s with COINTELPRO, as we saw in the post-9/11 era.

So, this is just the beginning, we think, of what is a massive mobilization of state resources against this movement. And this is why we’re publishing this report now, to really encourage lawmakers to protect First Amendment rights, to roll back these laws, which are only shielding Israel from accountability and scrutiny and undermining fundamental First Amendment rights for everybody.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the anti-Palestinian bills that are in front of Congress, one of them that would possibly radically expand deportations of Palestinians at this time, Dima?

DIMA KHALIDI: Yeah, we’re seeing legislatures around the country, not just Congress, but state legislatures, threatening, presenting bills that are trying to justify an erosion of constitutional rights and First Amendment rights by noting terrorism, supposed terrorism, threats, right? And certainly after October 7th, we saw an increase in these kinds of bills — one that wanted to deport all Palestinians. And we see this rhetoric from our elected officials, as well.

So, we are very clear that the reason that this is allowed to happen is because this anti-Palestinian sentiment has been cemented not only into U.S. law, but into the minds of people. And that’s why these kinds of bills are proposed with hardly anyone blinking an eye, while Palestinians are being obliterated in Gaza as we speak. So, this is a very concerning moment and one where we must all stand up and recognize that our laws have been built and are being used and exploited to further Israel’s own agenda and, you know, the United States’ complicity in what Israel is doing right now.

AMY GOODMAN: Darryl Li, can you talk about what most surprised you, in this last minute we have, in doing the research for this report?

DARRYL LI: Yes, well, I think one of the surprising episodes is the one that I referred to earlier about the way that the material support law was passed after the Oklahoma City bombing. Essentially, what happened was that the Clinton administration proposed a sort of general anti-terrorism law that included the things that the ADL wanted, that essentially targeted Palestinians, but also included things that you would like expect, like expanded law enforcement authority, regulation of firearms and explosives, and so on. And the House-led — sorry, the Republican-led House of Representatives essentially gutted that bill and replaced it with all the provisions that they wanted. And immediately, the Democrats and the ADL pushed back, lobbied very hard, and the parts of the original bill, only the ones that pertained to so-called international terrorism, that were essentially targeting Palestinians, were put back into the bill. So it’s a really sobering example of how anti-Palestinian animus is one of the most enduring areas of bipartisan appeal in Washington.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being with us. We’re going to link to your report. Darryl Li, lawyer, associate professor of anthropology and social sciences at the University of Chicago, and Dima Khalidi, founder and director of Palestine Legal. The new briefing paper is “Anti-Palestinian at the Core: The Origins and Growing Dangers of U.S. Antiterrorism Law.”

That does it for our show. To see all our video and audio podcasts, you can go to And congratulations to our whole team as we just surpassed 2 million YouTube viewers. Democracy Now! produced with Renée Feltz, Mike Burke, Deena Guzder, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Messiah Rhodes, Nermeen Shaikh, María Taracena, Tami Woronoff. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks so much for joining us.

And we'll wind down with this from Senator Patty Murray's office:

February 27, 2024

Senators Murray, Duckworth, Schumer, Baldwin, Klobuchar Lead Press Conference Denouncing Alabama IVF Decision, Calling for Passage of Legislation to Protect Right to IVF 

ICYMI: New Legislation From Senators Murray, Duckworth Would Protect Right to Access IVF, Other Assisted Reproductive Technology in the Face of Republican Attacks

Senator Murray: “Women aren’t just going to ‘forget’ who is responsible for this—who ripped away their dreams of building their families. This is not hyperbole. This is not hypothetical. This is happening.”

**VIDEO from press conference HERE***

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member and former chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) held a press conference responding to the Alabama Supreme Court ruling on Friday that frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) are considered “extrauterine children” under state law, and calling for passage of legislation that would establish a statutory, nationwide right to access IVF treatment. The decision sparked concerns that embryos that are destroyed or damaged could lead to civil liability, which would have sweeping implications for fertility treatment—since the ruling, at least three IVF providers in Alabama have suspended IVF services.

At the press conference, Senator Murray forcefully denounced the Alabama ruling and the far-right ideology of “fetal personhood” underlying the decision—an ideology supported by many Republican politicians that has terrifying consequences for the humanity and rights of pregnant women and could put an end to people’s ability to build families through IVF. IVF is overwhelmingly popular with Americans—recent polling found that 85 percent of Americans support increasing access to fertility-related procedures and services. A survey from Pew Research Center in September found that 42 percent of adults say they have used fertility treatments or personally know someone who had—up from 33% five years ago.

“Imagine going through years of trying to get pregnant, to no avail, maybe going through the heartbreak of a miscarriage, often, multiple times. Then turning hopefully to IVF, allowing yourself to hope ‘maybe this time,’ only to have some right-wing judges pull the rug out from under you,” Senator Murray said at the press conference today. “My heart truly goes out to all of the women in Alabama who are suffering right now. And let’s get one thing straight—Republicans cannot pretend this is some surprise. They have fought for decades to overturn Roe, knowing full well it would create situations like this.”

“Women aren’t just going to ‘forget’ who is responsible for this—who ripped away their dreams of building their families,” Murray continued. “This is not hyperbole. This is not hypothetical. This is happening. If Republicans seriously want to help fix the chaos and devastation they have worked so hard to create, they can help us restore the rights enshrined in Roe—which they overturned to make all this possible—and they can help us pass my legislation to protect and expand IVF care.” 

Just last month, Murray and Duckworth introduced their Access to Family Building Act, which would protect every American’s right to access IVF and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) services that millions of Americans rely on to have children. Building on the Right to Build Families Actthe lawmakers had introduced in previous Congresses, the new legislation would establish a statutory right to access IVF and other ART services, thereby pre-empting any state effort to limit such access and ensuring no hopeful parent—or their doctors—are punished for trying to start or grow their family.

After the Supreme Court’s disastrous Dobbs ruling, many women have not only seen their constitutional right to abortion ripped away from them as a result of state abortion bans, but their ability to get treatment for cancer, lupus and more—and to access IVF and other assisted reproductive technology in order to build a family—are also under threat. The new patchwork of state abortion bans has created significant confusion among patients and providers alike about what services doctors can and cannot provide in states with the most restrictive laws, leading IVF centers to call for new protections.

Senator Murray is a longtime leader in the fight to protect and expand access to reproductive health care and, after the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade, Murray has led Congressional efforts to fight back. Murray led her colleagues at the outset of this Congress to make crystal clear that Senate Democrats are continuing to fight to protect every American’s reproductive rights and will be a firewall against Republicans’ continued attacks on women’s rights—and that’s exactly what she’s doing now. Murray has introduced more than a dozen pieces of legislation to protect reproductive rights from further attacks, protect providers, and help ensure women get the care they need and repeatedly sought unanimous consent to pass common-sense bills to protect women’s fundamental freedoms; she also co-leads the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would restore the right to abortion nationwide, and has been leading Congressional efforts to make over-the-counter birth control affordable. In January, Senator Murray led Senate Democrats in hosting a briefing on the State of Abortion Rights across America, where senators heard powerful testimony from individuals who had been personally harmed by Republicans’ abortion bans.

Senator Murray’s full remarks, as delivered at today’s press conference, are below:

“First of all, thank you to Senator Duckworth who’s been such a champion on this issue and for your amazing words this morning.

“Ever since IVF access in Alabama was thrown into jeopardy by Republicans’ extreme ideology, women have been sharing the most heartbreaking stories about how their dreams of becoming a mother have been turned into a complete nightmare. 

“Imagine going through years of trying to get pregnant, to no avail, maybe going through the heartbreak of a miscarriage, often, multiple times. Then turning hopefully to IVF, paying thousands—often tens of thousands—of dollars, taking your shots,  allowing yourself to hope “maybe this time.

“Only to have some right-wing judges pull the rug out from under you because they believe a frozen embryo kept in storage at an IVF clinic is the same—and should have the exact same rights—as a living, breathing, human person, because they want everything that’s happening in doctors’ offices and fertility clinics to conform to their extreme ideology—one that would make services like IVF impossible.

“My heart truly goes out to all of the women in Alabama who are suffering right now. 

“And let’s get one thing straight—Republicans cannot pretend this is some surprise.

“Republicans fought for decades to overturn Roe, knowing full well it would create situations like this. 

“Democrats have been warning about this for years. 

“It’s been incredible to watch Republicans now scramble over the weekend to suddenly support IVF while many of these same Republicans are literally, right now, cosponsors of legislation that would enshrine fetal personhood—the very concept that caused all of the chaos in Alabama—and would make IVF unavailable nationwide.  

“You cannot support IVF and support fetal personhood laws. They are fundamentally incompatible! You are not fooling anyone! 

“Women aren’t just going to ‘forget’ who is responsible for this—who ripped away their dreams of building their families. 

“This is what happens when Republican politicians take away women’s power over their own bodies. 

“This is not hyperbole. This is not hypothetical. This is happening.

“If Republicans seriously want to help fix the chaos and devastation they have worked so hard to create they can help us restore the rights enshrined in Roe—which they overturned to make all this possible—and they can help us pass legislation to protect and expand IVF care. 

“And our bill—the Access to Family Building Act—is a great place to start. 

“It just does not get more straightforward than this: if Republicans seriously support the right to build families through IVF, they can prove it tomorrow on the floor.”


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