Van Hollen, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Protect Doctors From Republicans’ Anti-Abortion Attacks
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) in introducing the Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act to protect doctors against Republicans’ non-stop attacks and ensure they can safely provide abortion care in states where it is still legal. This week, the Senators will take to the Senate floor to seek unanimous consent to pass the legislation.
Republicans’ nonstop attacks against women’s reproductive freedom has long targeted doctors, with state laws like Texas’ SB8 allowing for anyone to bring a lawsuit against an abortion provider. But in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, these attacks have ramped up—with Republican state legislators drafting legislation that would make it a crime to perform an abortion on a state resident even in another state where abortion is legal. And already, abortion providers are facing non-stop attacks from Republican politicians, including Dr. Caitlin Bernard—an abortion provider who is facing legal threats after providing legal abortion care to a 10-year-old rape victim who was forced to cross state lines. Dr. Bernard’s case is emblematic of what abortion providers across the country are facing, as Republicans lob legal threats and intimidate doctors providing legal abortion care.
The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act will help protect against these attacks, ensuring that providers in states where abortion remains legal are protected from any efforts to restrict their practice or create uncertainty about their legal liability.
The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act will ensure that providers in states where abortion remains legal are protected from any efforts to restrict their practice or create uncertainty about their legal liability. Specifically, the bill will:
- Protect health care providers in states where abortion is legal from being subject to laws that try to prevent them from providing reproductive health care services or make them liable for providing those services to patients from any other state. These protections could be enforced by a federal lawsuit from the Department of Justice, a patient, or a provider, ensuring a future Department of Justice could not turn a blind eye to state laws that violate these protections;
- Prohibit any federal funds from being used to pursue legal cases against individuals who access legal reproductive health care services or against health care providers in states where abortion is legal;
- Create a new grant program at the Department of Justice to fund legal assistance or legal education for reproductive health care service providers;
- Create a new grant program at the Department of Health and Human Services to support reproductive health care service providers in obtaining physical, cyber, or data privacy security upgrades necessary to protect their practice and patients; and
- Protect reproductive health care providers from being denied professional liability insurance coverage because of legal services offered to patients.
In addition to Senators Van Hollen, Murray, Luján, Padilla, and Rosen, the legislation is also co-sponsored by Senators Schumer (D-N.Y.), Bennet (D-Colo.), Markey (D-Mass.), Stabenow (D-Mich.), Heinrich (D-N.M.), Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Wyden (D-Ore.), Warren (D-Mass.), Merkley (D-Ore.), Smith (D-Minn.), Cardin (D-Md.), Menendez (D-N.J.), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Murphy (D-Conn.), Reed (D-R.I.), Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Hirono (D-Hawaii), Sanders (I-Vt.), and Duckworth (D-Ill.).
The bill has been endorsed by: Dr. Caitlin Bernard, Physicians for Reproductive Health, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Catholics for Choice, the National Partnership for Women & Families, the Center for Reproductive Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the National Council of Jewish Women.
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