After U.S. Senator James Lankford blocked a bill that would have protected the right of pregnant women across the country to travel to receive abortion services, Democratic leaders and reproductive rights activists quickly criticized anti-choice Republican legislators on Thursday.
The GOP senator from Oklahoma — which banned Fast all abortions this year were performed before the Roe v. Wade reversal — objected to Democrats’ effort The 2022 Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act was unanimously approved.
Introduced This week, Democratic Sens. The bill would clarify that patients can travel across state lines to obtain abortion care, and give the U.S. attorney and affected individuals the power to pursue legal action against anyone who attempts to limit that right.
Lankford blocked the bill’s passage, but its sponsors and supporters stressed that Lankford was behind the ongoing and extensive assault on reproductive rights at a national scale.
MAGA Republicans don’t only want to take away women’s right to safe and legal abortion, they want to go further and take away the right to travel freely as well. That’s outrage on top of injustice. We need this bill in order to protect our right to travel. https://t.co/aWg37lrpz3
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) July 14, 2022
Murray took aim at her GOP colleagues on the Senate floor, declaring that “Republican lawmakers have already set their sights on ripping away the right to travel. Let’s be really clear what that means: They want to hold women captive in their own states.”
“It’s disgraceful that anyone would object to making sure people can travel to other states for reproductive healthcare,” she added in a statement. “It’s morally repugnant. By objecting to this bill, Republicans are rejecting any appearance of fighting for people’s rights, and embracing all-out oppression of women like never before.”
Cortez Masto similarly said that “by objecting to my legislation, they’re allowing state legislators to reach across state lines to control not just what happens in their states, but what happens in every state across this country and to punish women for exercising their fundamental rights. It’s absolutely outrageous.”
President Joe Biden also called out the Republican Party for Lankford’s move:
Immediately after Roe was reversed, I laid out how our Administration would use executive action to protect a woman’s right to travel across state borders to get the care she needs.
Today, Senate Republicans blocked a bill to make this right a law. https://t.co/y86RWyziKl
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 14, 2022
“Anti-choice state legislators in Missouri, Texas, and Arkansas have said they want to pass bills to fine or prosecute women who travel for healthcare, providers who offer abortion services, and the many employers who have said they will support their employees who need to seek reproductive care in another state,” noted Cortez Masto on the Senate floor.
“These bills are blatantly unconstitutional,” she added. “And merely proposing them has created profound uncertainty for patients, healthcare providers, insurers, and employers across the country.”
Cortez Masto’s legislation was endorsed by various rights organizations including the ACLU, Center for Reproductive Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Women’s Law Center, Physicians for Reproductive Health, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
We are grateful @SenAmyKlobuchar, @SenatorBennet, @RonWyden, @SenatorHick, @SenWhitehouse, @SenatorCantwell, @SenSherrodBrown, & @PattyMurrayYour passionate speeches about the devastating reality of abortion and fighting for the right to abort are greatly appreciated.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) July 14, 2022
Despite the bill’s defeat on Thursday, Cortez Masto vowed that “I won’t stop fighting for women’s freedom.”