Elizabeth Warren calls for federal protection of abortion rights

Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for Congress to pass laws aimed at protecting access to reproductive health care as several states pass measures to gut protections.

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Warren’s call came days after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed one of the nation’s most stringent abortion bans into law. The ban, which will take effect in six months if it’s not challenged, would bar women from having abortions even in cases of rape or incest unless a woman’s health is at serious risk.

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Sponsors of the bill have said it was purposefully strict, written to get attention from the Supreme Court and to eventually overturn the 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, according to AL.com.

"Roe v. Wade established a woman's constitutional right to safe and legal abortion and has been the law of the land for over 46 years," Warren, who represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate, said in a statement released Friday. "These extremist lawmakers know what the law is – but they don't care."

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Warren said Congress should create federal laws to parallel the constitutional right to abortion access established in Roe v. Wade. She said the laws should prohibit states from interfering in a medical provider’s ability to provide services, including abortions, and laws to prohibit states from barring a patient from accessing care.

She said such laws would “end the political games being played by right wing courts to try and narrow Roe’s protections” and that “they would ensure that choice would remain the law of the land even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe.”

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Another element of Warren's abortion-rights proposal urges passage of legislation that would prevent the government from imposing abortion-related restrictions on private health insurers. The presidential hopeful also joined several of her Democratic primary rivals in urging the rollback of a 1976 restriction on the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, except for cases of rape, incest or pregnancies that imperil the life of a mother.

Warren also pushed for the rejection of limitations on abortion access proposed by President Donald Trump's administration, including a rule that would block certain federally funded clinics from providing counsel regarding abortions as part of the family planning process.

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Warren is not the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for the codification of Roe's ruling on abortion rights into law, an idea that would face significant resistance from congressional Republicans. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York also have endorsed the codification of abortion rights, while Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said Thursday that such a move "deserves to be taken seriously."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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