U.S. Senator Warren calls for federal laws protecting abortion access

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for overhauling federal law to ensure that women continue to have access to abortion amid efforts in states like Alabama and Ohio to enact bans on the procedure. The issue of abortion has been thrust into the national dialogue in recent weeks after a series of states controlled by Republicans began passing legislation to enact hard line bans. Alabama signed into law on Wednesday the most drastic rollback yet. “This is a dark moment,” Warren, who is running for president, wrote in a post on Medium on Friday morning outline her new proposal. “People are scared and angry. And they are right to be. But this isn’t a moment to back down – it’s time to fight back.” Warren is one of more than 20 Democrats vying for her party’s nomination to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election. Warren has distinguished herself in the field as the candidate with the most prolific series of policy proposals on a myriad of topics. Warren said Congress should enact laws that reinforce the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. A new law should go farther to prohibit states from “interfering in the ability of a patient to access medical care, including abortion services, from a provider that offers them.” Warren also wants Congress to enact laws that invalidate state rules that have placed near-impossible regulations on abortion clinics. Several states have enacted regulations that have effectively put all clinics out of business. She would also prohibit states from limiting access to the medications that are used to perform abortions. Next, Warren said Congress should require that all health care insurance cover abortions. Republicans have pushed for the opposite, imposing rules that prohibited government-backed insurance from covering abortion services and trying to limit the ability of private insurers to do so. Warren added that Congress should go beyond abortion and also ensure access to birth control, comprehensive sex education and care for pregnant women. “We must build a future that protects the right of all women to have children, the right of all women to not have children, and the right to bring children up in a safe and healthy environment,” Warren said.

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