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Republicans in the Senate Support Laws to Prevent Women from Traveling Out of State for an Abortion

Last week in the US Senate, Republicans blocked the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act, a bill that would have guaranteed the right to travel out of state for an abortion. A similar bill was passed this week in the House of Representatives where Democrats hold a majority. However, without Senate approval, the bill will not become law and conservative states are already fashioning legislation to stop women from traveling to terminate their pregnancies.

As widely predicted, Republicans in red states with abortion bans aren't satisfied with restrictions within their boundaries. This was never about states' rights; it's about controlling women. Less than three weeks after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, House Republicans reintroduced the Heartbeat Protection Act, which would impose a federal abortion ban, outlawing abortions at roughly six weeks of pregnancy, before many people even know they are pregnant. That legislation won't pass as long as Democrats control the House, but Republicans hope to retake Congress this Fall in the midterm elections.

However, in a growing number of red states that have banned most abortions, Republican legislators are already formulating plans to prevent women from traveling for the procedure.

Law Professor Steven Lubet, The Hill: Modeled after Texas’s “bounty-hunter” law, a bill introduced in Missouri would authorize private citizens to recover $10,000 in damages from those – including friends, family members and doctors – who assist a Missouri resident in obtaining an abortion out of state.
In Texas, the “Freedom Caucus” has threatened employers with “criminal liability” if they proceed with plans to cover employees’ travel expenses for out-of-state abortions, invoking a 1925 statute making it a felony to “furnish the means for procuring an abortion knowing the purpose intended.”
That is only the beginning. As the Washington Post reported, anti-abortion organizations are working on model legislation that would stop women from obtaining out-of-state abortions.
The Washington Post: The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal organization, is drafting model legislation for state lawmakers that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a resident of a state that has banned abortion from terminating a pregnancy outside of that state.

Legislators in Arkansas are also planning travel bans.

THV11, Arkansas: "State Senator Jason Rapert is among of a group of lawmakers who are moving forward with the intent to pass laws that would stop people from crossing state lines to get abortions." ...
"One of those groups is the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, which is led by Rapert and other Republican lawmakers. The group is working on legislation that would ban people from crossing state lines in order to get an abortion."

As we wrote last month, The Dobbs decision is just the very tip of the iceberg. Anti-abortion extremists won't be satisfied until they have extinguished the right for women across America. It's already started and the ramifications extend even beyond access to abortion services. "With blazing speed, however, it’s become obvious that anti-abortion, no-exceptions lawmakers will attempt to exert influence across state lines. Beyond that, there has been a rapid onset of unintended consequences stemming from the legal uncertainty of a tyrannical moment – doctors refusing to provide care for women who are miscarrying, or refusing to prescribe methotrexate for arthritis, or otherwise withholding treatment over fears that a Republican attorney general might misunderstand and have them arrested."

#law #news #politics

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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