Opinion | How D.C. is protecting women’s access to health care

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Brian K. Nadeau, Democrat, represents Ward 1 in the D.C. House.

Last month, I watched in horror when we got a glimpse of a draft Supreme Court opinion on Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The draft revealed that the court is preparing to abolish the constitutional right to abortion that it has enshrined Raw vs. Wade in 1973.

We have only a few days left to announce this decision.

I have two daughters, both under the age of five. I have two sisters and several cousins ​​and nieces. As a member of the Metropolitan Council, I represent the tens of thousands of people who depend on their government to protect their right to whatever health care intervention they want or need. I don’t know what liberties are yet-Ro The world will guarantee them.

I remember how proud I was in high school when I joined Planned Parenthood. I didn’t particularly need her services, but I wanted to do my part and support the organization that was standing up for people’s rights in my state of Michigan. When those rights were threatened in 2004, I had already been living in the capital for two years. I came here to be part of the protest, the activism, and the change. In April, I joined the March for Women’s Lives with 1.3 million others and pledged to become a public servant to raise the voices of my neighbors. Two years later, she ran for membership on the Neighborhood Advisory Committee.

Now, as a member of the Council, I am proud to support measures that enhance people’s access to reproductive health care. From participating in introducing legislation to protect physicians who support or provide reproductive health care, to advocating a landmark law prohibiting DC from interfering with reproductive health decisions and from imposing penalties for abortion or self-administered abortion, I’ve stayed in the fray throughout my time in the office.

And on May 6, with the support of all of my colleagues, I introduced the Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act of 2022. The legislation I proposed would prevent DC from cooperating with out-of-state investigations that seek to impose civil or criminal liability for abortion care, contraceptive use, and other protected behaviors . The bill also allows patients and physicians to file lawsuits against parties who have successfully brought Texas-style bonus lawsuits against them for engaging in protected behavior. This legislation works in tandem with the Enhanced Reproductive Health Protection Amendment Act of 2022, which was recently introduced by Councilman Christina Henderson (I-At Large), which protects access to self-administered abortion in Washington, and builds on three bills introduced by the House member. Robert C. White Jr. (D-At Large) requiring cost-sharing abortion insurance coverage that protects practitioners’ licenses and insurance from attack.

Again, it is up to states to protect women’s health, but, unfortunately, not all states are created equal. In times like these we cannot ignore the precarious state of the capital’s independence. With a Democratic majority in the House, Democratic control of the Senate and the White House, and a fierce hero in Eleanor Holmes Norton (DD. But we have no idea how long that will last. Without a state, our laws and our liberties are always at stake.)

With a unanimous introduction, I am confident that this House will pass the My Sanctuary Act, the Henderson Bill and the White Legislation this year. Beginning with the hearings on my bill and Henderson’s bill on July 14, we will be holding hearings to create the strongest legislative record possible over the summer to help immunize against judicial challenges. We can pass emergency versions of the final bill texts unanimously in September and continue to pass new, temporary emergency legislation in response to challenges from the right twice a month if the need arises.

And if Congress comes for us, we will resist, just as we always do.

We know that restricting access to abortion has a profound impact on young people, people of color, and those on low incomes. Access to safe, legal abortion should not depend on the state in which you live or whether you are wealthy enough to travel to a state that allows it. Restricting this right will harm those most in need of care. Now is the time to be bold, creative, flexible and brave.

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