TALLAHASSEE, FL — Lawmakers in Congress have re-introduced a bill they say will ensure access to safe abortion nationwide, just as abortion rights are being challenged with tougher Mississippi legislation that needs to be reviewed by the US Supreme Court in 2022.
The Women’s Health Protection Act would allow abortions in every state without restrictions that are not medically necessary. US Representative Lois Frankel, D-Fla., who co-presented the bill, said unnecessary restrictions include waiting periods or traveling far for care because of clinic closures.
“These restrictions are designed to control and criminalize women and/or their providers,” Frankel said. “They steal from women the ability to make important, life-changing decisions about starting a family. And it’s a violation of their rights and their basic humanity.”
In a survey released in January, 68% of respondents said they believe the constitutional right to abortion should be protected. And the Institute for Women’s Policy Research Studies noted that Florida would have more women in the workforce if the restrictions were lifted. As of Tuesday, no GOP legislators co-sponsor the bill.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2007 to 2016, pregnancy-related deaths were two to three times more prevalent among black women in the United States. Danielle Hurd-Wilson, interim deputy director of areas and programs for Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, stressed that access to reproductive care is also an issue of racial and economic justice.
Hurd said, “Young people – and black, indigenous people of color – require mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods and others that shame, stigmatize and deny us timely, confidential abortion care, abortions free from unnecessary restrictions. Must be able to receive care.” Wilson.
In the past decade, around 500 state laws prohibiting abortion have been passed in legislatures across the country.
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