WASHINGTON — Elizabeth Warren is calling for a series of targeted measures designed to safeguard abortion rights following a flurry of new state laws that dramatically restrict women’s ability to terminate pregnancies, a move Democrats have decried as a planned effort to chip away at the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
Warren’s abortion rights platform, released Friday by her Democratic presidential campaign, centers on the establishment of “affirmative, statutory rights” that would “block states from interfering in the ability of a health care provider to provide medical care, including abortion services,” and set similar restrictions on states’ power to block patients from getting medical care, including abortions.
Her proposals come as Missouri joins Alabama, Georgia and other states in advancing laws that limit abortion access — with Alabama’s law drawing skepticism from some anti-abortion Republicans as too draconian, given its lack of an exception for cases of rape or incest.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans have no desire to return to the world before Roe v. Wade,” Warren said in an online post announcing her ideas. “And so the time to act is now.”
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The senator from Massachusetts also urged passage of legislation that would stop states from passing constraints on abortion providers that are built to avoid violating the 1973 Roe decision, in which the Supreme Court recognized the constitutional right to an abortion. Backers of the Alabama law have described it as a conscious attempt to get the Supreme Court to revisit and potentially overturn Roe.
Another element of Warren’s abortion-rights proposal urges passage of legislation that would prevent private health insurers from constraining abortion access. The presidential hopeful also joined several of her Democratic primary rivals in urging the rollback of a 1976 restriction on the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, except for cases of rape, incest or pregnancies that imperil the life of a mother.
Warren also pushed for the rejection of limitations on abortion access proposed by President Donald Trump’s administration, including a rule that would block certain federally funded clinics from providing counsel regarding abortions as part of the family planning process.
She’s not the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for the codification of Roe’s ruling on abortion rights into law, an idea that would face significant resistance from congressional Republicans. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York also have endorsed the codification of abortion rights, while Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said Thursday that such a move “deserves to be taken seriously.”