Friday, April 28, 2023
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today that they and Senate colleagues have reintroduced legislation that would protect abortion providers in Oregon and nationwide from Republicans’ attempts to restrict their practice and create uncertainty about their legal liability.
“Abortion access in Oregon remains legal and I will fight with all my heart to protect providers in Oregon and nationwide from extremist Republican schemes to undermine reproductive care and freedom,” Wyden said. “The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act would codify legal protections for reproductive health care providers, and I’m calling on Congress to urgently pass this bill because ensuring the right to reproductive health care cannot wait.”
“Politicians have no place in the bedroom or the exam room. The essential freedom to be in control of your own body must be protected,” Merkley said. “We all should have the same right to make medical decisions about our own bodies, and to access the care we need—including reproductive care—no matter where we live. The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act is a crucial commitment to individual freedom and to protecting medical providers in states like Oregon where abortion remains legal.”
The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act would ensure that providers in Oregon — where abortion remains legal — are protected from any efforts to restrict their practice or create uncertainty about their legal liability. Specifically, the bill would:
- Protect health care providers in states where abortion is legal from being subject to laws that try to prevent them from providing reproductive health care services or make them liable for providing those services to patients from any other state. These protections could be enforced by a federal lawsuit from the Department of Justice, a patient, or a provider, ensuring a future Department of Justice could not turn a blind eye to state laws that violate these protections;
- Prohibit any federal funds from being used to pursue legal cases against individuals who access legal reproductive health care services or against health care providers in states where abortion is legal;
- Create a new grant program at the Department of Justice to fund legal assistance or legal education for reproductive health care service providers;
- Create a new grant program at the Department of Health and Human Services to support reproductive health care service providers in obtaining physical, cyber, or data privacy security upgrades necessary to protect their practice and patients; and
- Protect reproductive health care providers from being denied professional liability insurance coverage solely because of legal health services offered to patients.
The legislation is led by U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash. Alongside Wyden and Merkley, the bill was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
The legislation has been endorsed by Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, Power to Decide, National Council of Jewish Women, National Women’s Law Center, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and NARAL.
The text of the bill is here.
A one-page summary is here.