Congress amended bills to protect travel for abortion

The bills being pushed to the floor show the eagerness of Democrats to prevent the effects of the recent Supreme Court decision on reversal. Roe against Wadeeven if they are very limited in what they can carry out legally.

Progressive lawmakers hope to put political pressure on anyone who votes against the pioneering bills in the midterms of November. All three top sponsors of the draft bill in the Senate – Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) And Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) – represents states that are now abortion destinations and preparing for a flood of patients from more severe states.

“To suggest that women don’t have the right to travel isn’t just non -American, it’s inconsistent,” Gillibrand told reporters Tuesday, adding that she doesn’t want doctors in her state to be “in the crosshair” of prosecutors from others state whether they perform an abortion on a traveling patient.

States have not yet banned travel – yet: No state has yet banned interstate travel for the purpose of obtaining reproductive care that is prohibited where they live, but a Missouri state legislator has tried – unsuccessfully, to date – to incorporate such language into several bills in health even before the Supreme Court issued its decision. Conservative lawmakers and activists in other states have also discussed either punishing those who help bring patients across state lines or subjecting doctors to criminal penalties if they perform abortions on living patients. in states where abortion is illegal, even if it is legal in the state in which it is performed.

“States are looking to ban it,” Cortez Masto said Tuesday, explaining why he introduced a bill to avoid restrictions that are not yet in place. “And we already know that this is having a frightening effect as states work to criminalize doctors and criminalize women.”

While the move is one of many abortion rights activists called for the status quo RoeThe death of, progressive groups emphasize that it will only help those who can afford the time and cost of travel possibly hundreds of miles for the procedure-something many people cannot afford to do.

Fast action in Congress: Two-thirds of the Senate Democratic caucus signed the co-sponsor bill to protect travel rights Tuesday, with the Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Majority Whip Dick Durbin. That tally still leaves them with the 60 votes they need to pass will pay. Even if every Democrat voted for the bill – a big if, Sen. Joe Manchin(DW.Va.) vote against Democrats ’broader abortion rights bill in May – the bill could fail to get even one Republican supporter.

Sen. said. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Whose state recently banned the procedure, called the bill “absurd.”

“How do you stop someone from traveling?” he said to POLITICO. “That is nonsense. And they know it’s bullshit, but they’re just trying to fool Americans into thinking they’re doing something meaningful.

While it is likely to fail, Murray told reporters Tuesday that the Senate plans to try to release the bill on Thursday-a quick timeline that leaves little room for a fight-vote.

Meanwhile, a senior Democratic aide confirmed that the House bill, HR 8297is set on the floor this Friday.

Travel rights: The constitution does not explicitly protect the right to travel, but decades of case law have supported a person’s right to move freely along state lines. UC Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision on Saenz against Roe in 1999 that despite the absence of a term in the Constitution, the concept was “firmly embedded in our jurisprudence.”

“The Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution as protecting the right to travel,” Bridges said. “But that does not mean the right is safe. We saw in Dobbs that 50 years of precedent could be overturned depending on the makeup of the court. ”

Attempts to control travel to states at the height of the pandemic in 2020 have been abandoned as unenforceable, even as many states continue to require visitors to quarantine.

“Travel should not be a weapon to advance political or social agendas,” Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy at the U.S. Travel Association, told POLITICO when asked about travel on state lines. to receive an abortion. “Instead of effectively advancing the agendas of their advocates, travel bans and boycotts instead have enormous potential for collateral damage and injury to an industry, its workers, and its destinations.”