WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in introducing the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022. The bill clarifies that it is illegal for anti-choice states to limit travel for abortion services, and would empower the Attorney General and impacted individuals to bring civil action against those who restrict a woman’s right to cross state lines to receive legal reproductive care.
“Now that Republican-controlled states have free-reign to make abortion illegal, many women will be forced to travel to other states to seek reproductive care,” said Senator Hirono. “Just when we thought Republicans couldn’t go any lower, they’re now trying to prohibit interstate travel to seek health care—and prosecute those who do. Democrats introduced a bill to help make sure this won’t happen. The Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act will help ensure people across our country can safely exercise their constitutional right to travel, including to seek or provide reproductive care, without fear of legal prosecution. I will continue to do everything in my power to protect the right of all individuals to make decisions about their bodies and their futures.”
Legislation introduced in Missouri and draft legislation proposed by anti-choice extremists illustrate that interstate travel for reproductive health care is under attack. The Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022 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 Hawaii, from prosecution and lawsuits for serving individuals traveling from other states.
A long-time champion for abortion access, Senator Hirono is committed to protecting the fundamental right to abortion care for all. Earlier this month, she convened a working group of Hawaii reproductive leaders to discuss the impact the Supreme Court’s decision will have on women in Hawaii, how to better support access to reproductive care in the state, and how public officials, physicians, and organizations can work together to better support women across the country.
In June, Senator Hirono led several initiatives relating to abortion care and reproductive health. She led her colleagues in urging the Department of Defense to take immediate steps to support and protect female servicemembers seeking abortion services, and introduced the Affordability is Access Act (AAA) to help ensure access to over-the-counter birth control options. Senator Hirono also introduced the My Body, My Data Act, legislation to protect personal reproductive health data by minimizing the information collected and retained, and preventing that information from being disclosed or misused; the bill would protect reproductive health data from sources like fertility tracking apps.
In addition to Senators Hirono, Cortez Masto, Whitehouse, Murray, and Gillibrand, the legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CN), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ed Markey (D-MA), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The full text of the legislation can be found here.