June 22, 2023

Ahead of Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Being Overturned, Whitehouse Joins Colleagues to Protect the Right of Women to Cross State Lines to Seek Abortion Care

Washington, D.C.  – Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Democratic colleagues to reintroduce the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act.  As states across the country continue to attack women’s freedoms, this legislation would block anti-choice states from penalizing travel for abortion services and empower the Attorney General and impacted individuals to bring civil action against those who restrict the right to cross state lines to receive reproductive care.

“When the Republican justices shredded a fundamental right for women to determine their bodily autonomy, state legislatures quickly jumped in to restrict access to abortions.  Now, women across the country are traveling to states like Rhode Island to get access to reproductive health care,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Interstate travel a basic right, and if some states want to ban abortions, we must defend the right of women to travel and the rights of providers in other states to deliver care.”

This April, Idaho became the first state to criminalize assisting with out-of-state travel for some seeking abortions.  And anti-choice politicians in states like Tennessee, Texas, and Missouri are trying to punish both women for leaving their state for reproductive care and the doctors and employers who help them.  The Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act underscores the Constitutional protections for interstate travel and provides redress for women whose rights are violated.  The legislation would also protect health care providers in pro-choice states like Rhode Island from prosecution and lawsuits for serving individuals traveling from other states.

In addition to Whitehouse and Cortez Masto, the legislation is led by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and cosponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR.), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jon Fetterman (D-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

This legislation is endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Women’s Law Center, Center for Reproductive Rights, Physicians for Reproductive Health, National Partnership for Women & Families, Catholics for Choice, Power to Decide, National Council of Jewish Women, and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association.

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921