SEATTLE - Bob Ferguson and 18 attorneys general around the U.S. wrote a letter to Congress, urging lawmakers to establish protections for reproductive rights, including abortions.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Office led the effort, writing to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for them to "establish a slate of protections" for reproductive health care.
The letter comes as abortion rights are once again challenged by the Supreme Court, both with a draft majority opinion released in May that suggests Roe v. Wade may be overturned, as well as a pending final decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
"People from across the country are already losing access to essential health care due to state restrictions and bans, and if the leaked draft majority opinion in Dobbs is adopted, this problem will become precipitously worse with tragic consequences," reads the letter.
The letter calls for Congress to:
- Push for changes in health insurance policy to increase access to reproductive health care
- Establish a federal program to fund nonprofits that provide abortion care
- Preempt state restrictions on abortion-related medication
- Expressly permit the U.S. Postal Service to distribute FDA-approved abortion-related medication
- Strengthen data privacy laws to protect rights of people seeking reproductive care
- Pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
Specifics include making health insurance cover abortion care if they already cover maternity benefits, dropping the Hyde Amendment from the federal budget, banning the collection of cell phone location data entered into health applications – which has been purchased by anti-abortion activists to target people seeking abortion care, sometimes while they are still sitting in the office.
"We urge you to ensure that comprehensive reproductive health care is accessible to every person in this country without fear of repercussions," reads the letter. "The right to bodily autonomy is essential to realizing justice. We must urgently push for reproductive justice and fight back against any efforts to overturn essential civil rights—now and into the future."
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Ferguson was joined by attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont.