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Democrats scramble to protect abortion rights in liberal U.S. states -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Students protest in Union Square for the right to abortion after Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion was leaked. He is preparing for a majority court vote that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

By Sharon Bernstein

SACRAMENTO (California) (Reuters) – New York lawmakers introduced a bill that would increase funding for abortion care. California lawmakers will vote soon on legislation that would increase the number of providers. Connecticut recently passed legislation to shield providers from legal action in state where abortion is illegal.

Democratic legislators are taking action to ensure abortion access in their state after a draft leaked last week revealed that the U.S. Supreme Court was poised to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion across the country.

Toni Atkins of California, a Democrat and former director of reproductive health clinics prior to entering politics, stated that there is “no more pressing issue.” It should be a major issue that everyone can focus on.

These efforts to defend abortion rights are in sharp contrast to those made by conservative states. There, lawmakers have pledged to impose further restrictions. Should the Supreme Court overturn federal constitutional protections by June 30, an estimated 26 Republican-led state governments ban or restrict abortion, it is likely that the decision will come before then.

The U.S. Senate Democrats plan to make Wednesday’s vote illegally on legislation that codifies women’s rights in abortion nationally. This is a provocation almost certain to fail.

Liberal and moderate politicians on the state levels have succeeded in passing laws to expand access and protect abortion rights in advance of the court ruling.

The Connecticut Democratic Governor Ned Lamont last week signed a law to ensure that providers are protected for abortions performed on patients travelling from countries where it is prohibited or restricted.

Vermont will elect a Constitution Amendment to Protect Abortion Rights in November. Similar proposals for constitutional changes are currently being considered in Washington State and California.

New York State and California have taken some of the strongest steps to safeguard abortion rights, which are both Democratic strongholds.

New York Democratic lawmakers announced Monday that a new program would be established to provide funding for abortion services not covered by insurance. It also grants grants to women traveling from other states for abortions.

New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul (Democrat) directed Tuesday the Department of Health of creating a $25million fund to help support providers of abortion. According to Hochul, the Division of Criminal Justice could offer an additional $10 million in security grants to support reproductive health centres.

California’s legislature is set to hear a number of bills regarding abortion next week. These include legislation that protects providers and patients against civil and financial punishment for seeking legal procedures in California.

Also, the legislation would permit nurse practitioners to perform abortions. This will allow for more providers to be available at a moment when many women travel from all over California to receive care.

The Guttmacher Institute is an advocacy group for abortion rights. It claims that the Democratic-led state actions to improve abortion protections have been overshadowed by Republican restrictions.

Conservative lawmakers have passed 37 bills restricting abortion access in 10 state this year. However, Guttmacher data indicates that 14 abortion protection measures were approved in only eight states. The institute stated that in 2021 restrictive measures outweighed protecting laws.

Some lawmakers from the conservative side and activists against abortion want to move further. They are interested in eliminating online abortions and expanding abortion bans into states that have legalized it.

Some Republicans are supportive of abortion rights. Charlie Baker, Massachusetts governor, is a moderate Republican who said last week that he was open to talking about protections for women coming to Massachusetts from elsewhere to have abortions.

Sue Dunlap, President and CEO at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles said policymakers should look beyond the broad state laws and consider how women in outlawed states will be allowed to have abortions.

Many of those services will need to be provided at the local level by city officials, who are often called upon as providers or police officers.

Dunlap explained that California, Los Angeles and other states across the country had taken “very important first steps,” but “but we don’t really feel we have truly grappled” with the future.