As abortion ruling nears, state and federal lawmakers rush to prepare

Sandhya Raman, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

Vice President Kamala Harris met virtually with abortion providers Thursday afternoon, acknowledging the Oklahoma legislation in opening remarks.

Harris met with two practicing obstetrician-gynecologists, Rebecca Taub and Bhavik Kumar; the chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood, Colleen McNicholas; and the founder and director of All Families Healthcare, Helen Weems.

“This, when and if it happens, will be an extreme step backwards,” Harris said of the anticipated Supreme Court decision. She called the Oklahoma bill “the latest in a series of extreme laws around the country.”

Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the administration Thursday to put forward a national plan on how to protect abortion rights before the Supreme Court’s decision. The Senate last week fell short of passing legislation that Democrats said would guarantee national protections for abortion access and the ability of providers to perform them.

“Republicans can’t run from this issue. We’re going to get organized and we’re going to win at the ballot box,” he said. “Last week’s vote was only one step — not the end — of the fight for women.”

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., said that Democrats have asked HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra for a plan but recognize they are limited in what can be done federally.


But Murray rejected the idea that Democrats would support a watered-down version of the Democrats’ bill, such as legislation from Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, that would mirror current law that allows some state abortion bans to stand.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y, said she will introduce legislation this week that would provide funding for abortion providers to enhance the physical and cyber security for their facilities, personnel and patients.

And Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., led a letter this week signed by 14 Democratic senators to two data brokers criticizing them for collecting and selling cellphone location data of women visiting abortion clinics.

“Left unchecked, these practices would allow anyone with a credit card to buy the location data of a woman seeking abortion services including crossing state lines and then to use that information potentially to target them,” she said. “These practices are dangerous.”

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