WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the House of Representatives look at bills that would essentially legalize abortion in every state, the Senate is looking at the legal implications of overturning Roe.
Advocates on both sides of this issue testified today in a Senate Judiciary Committee. While the democrats are looking at codifying Roe into law, those on the pro-life side of the argument said Congress shouldn’t have the authority to issue what they’re calling an “abortion mandate”.
“It would also overturn hundreds of state laws that are modest in common sense and that protect life,” said Denise Harle, the director of The Center for Life Alliance Defending Freedom. “So as a constitutional matter, I don’t think congressional attempt to mandate abortion would be upheld in court and as a policy matter, it is it’s a horrific idea and I think we should be embarrassed that the United States is even considering something like that.”
Those who testified on the pro-life side of the argument said that overturning Roe has now left these decisions up to the states and argued that there should now be more resources towards pregnancy centers and those who need help raising children.
Law professors expressed concern about how doctors are now weighing the options of either saving the mother’s life or face jail time if they had to perform an emergency abortion. They also worry that the maternal mortality rate, especially for women of color, could now climb even higher especially in states where abortion is banned. But that’s not all, some states are looking at making it a crime for a woman to cross state lines to get an abortion. Something Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D- NY) wants to prevent.
“The right to travel freely across state lines is a constitutional right,” said the Senator. “It has been in place for decades. It is part of the rights of citizenship, it is part of our rights as a Republic. To suggest that women do not have the right to travel is not only un-American but its incoherent.”
Senator Gillibrand along with a couple of Democratic senators introduced legislation they say will protect people from crossing into other states to get an abortion. In the decision that overturned Roe, Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested that women who cross nearby states to get an abortion would be protected by the constitutional right to interstate travel but we’re seeing some states, like Texas, play around with the idea that it could be a crime to do so.
We asked Senator Gillibrand how their Republican colleagues in the Senate feel about this legislation they just introduced. The Senator said while no Republican has signed onto the bill, she is still personally reaching out to others.