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Elizabeth Warren’s plan for abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned



Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has rolled out a new policy proposal to shore up protections on the federal level for abortion.

In the past several weeks, the governors of Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama have signed restrictive new laws that seek to challenge the standing of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which ruled that states cannot ban abortion before the point of fetal viability.

“Even if the Supreme Court doesn’t overrule Roe immediately, it could use these laws as an excuse to continue chipping away at this precedent,” Warren wrote in a Friday Medium post. “That’s been happening for decades, and it’s already had a huge effect on access. As of 2014, 90% of counties in the U.S. did not have an abortion clinic.”

Read more: Abortion bans are popping up all around the country. Here are the states that have passed new laws to challenge Roe v. Wade in 2019

Georgia and Ohio’s laws ban abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which usually begins around five to six weeks of pregnancy, whereas Alabama’s new law bans the procedure altogether — with no exceptions for rape or incest — and makes it a class A felony for doctors to perform an abortion.

None of these new laws have gone into effect yet, and all are being challenged in court by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

But Warren wants congressional action to ensure abortion access is protected by federal law no matter how the courts rule on those states’ new abortion bans.

Her plan advocates for Congress to pass legislation creating an “affirmative and statutory” right to abortion, essentially codifying the protections of Roe v. Wade into the federal legal code.

The plan also calls for federal legislation that would curtail states’ efforts to enact burdensome regulations on abortion clinics, mandate private insurance to cover abortion services, and repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal programs like Medicaid from covering abortion except in certain rare cases.

Read more: This is what could happen if Roe v. Wade fell

The release of Warren’s plan comes after fellow presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand traveled to the Georgia state capitol and introduced her own policy plan to bolster federal protections for abortion.

Like Warren’s plan, Gillibrand’s also includes enacting federal protections for abortion rights, repealing the Hyde Amendment, and requiring private insurers to cover abortion under federal law.

“When I was growing up, long before Roe, people still got abortions. Some were lucky. Others weren’t. They all went through hell,” Warren wrote in her post. “The overwhelming majority of Americans have no desire to return to the world before Roe v. Wade. And so the time to act is now.”

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