A bipartisan group of four U.S. senators, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, recently reintroduced legislation to protect women’s rights to access both contraception and abortion.
The Reproductive Freedom for All Act would undo the damage of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade after almost 50 years, and would enshrine in federal law the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, the senators said.
The 50th anniversary of Roe would have been on Jan. 22.
Joining Murkowski in support of the legislation were senators Tim Kaine, D-VA, Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ, and Susan Collins, R-ME.
The Reproductive Freedom for All Act would prohibit state regulations that impose an undue burden on a woman’s access to pre-viability abortions while allowing states to enact reasonable restrictions on post-viability abortions – provided that states cannot ban abortions that are necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. It would also protect access to contraceptives and preserve conscience protections.
“Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, we’ve seen significant erosion of women’s reproductive rights in numerous states across the country—changes that have taken away rights and regressed access to women’s healthcare by decades,” Murkowski said in a statement on her website. “Now, it’s up to Congress to help restore and protect women’s reproductive rights. I’m proud to reintroduce bipartisan legislation with my colleagues to continue the access to contraception provided in Griswold (v. Connecticut) and to make permanent the protections provided through Roe and Casey.
“Unless we enshrine reproductive healthcare autonomy into law, we risk a future where generations of women will grow up with fewer rights than their mothers,” she said.
Roe v. Wade was decided on Jan. 22, 1973. Overturning Roe has resulted in bans on all abortions in several states, longer travel times for abortion access, and life-threatening delays in care, the senators said. Dobbs could also potentially call other important rights into question, including the right to access birth control, which was outlined in Griswold v. Connecticut, Eisenstadt v. Baird, and Carey v. Population Services International. The Reproductive Freedom for All Act would enact the core holdings of those cases as well as Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, they said.