A dozen Democratic senators are calling on the White House to take stronger executive action to protect access to abortion, amid increasing state restrictions and fears that a federal judge in Texas will soon rule to block access to a legally approved pill used in medication abortions.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade’s constitutional right to an abortion in June, 18 states have eliminated or restricted access to the procedure. The Democratic lawmakers said they anticipate there will be more this year, now that states have begun their 2023 legislative sessions.
Led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), the lawmakers recommended 11 new steps the Biden administration can take, including issuing guidance detailing Americans’ right to travel across state lines for an abortion, strengthening health privacy laws to ensure that provider and patient data cannot be shared with law enforcement and revoking Trump-era executive orders they argue restrict abortion rights.
“It is critical that you continue to take whatever steps are within your authority to protect reproductive freedom,” the Democrats wrote.
The senators also urged the administration to “use every legal and regulatory tool at their disposal” to ensure continued access to a medication called mifepristone in light of a lawsuit that could result in the drug — which has been used safely by millions of people since it was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000 — being removed from the market.
“Each day, women’s lives are threatened because they are denied access to essential health care,” the senators said in the letter. “We urge you to continue using the resources of the entire federal government to mount a robust response to this crisis.”
The other signatories are Democratic Sens. Tina Smith (Minn.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Alex Padilla (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.).