Reproductive Rights - Meet the Freshmen

Reproductive Rights

In the aftermath of this summer’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade, many states moved quickly to enact abortion bans. Within 90 days, 18 states had banned abortion–13 had full bans in place, with no exception for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.[i]

In September, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a national abortion ban starting at 15 weeks. While many Republicans have expressed verbal support for this position, the party was split on support for Graham’s proposal.[ii]

While President Biden has vowed to veto any bill that outlaws abortion, the Supreme Court ruling and ensuing bans have ramifications beyond merely abortion.[iii] New concerns arose around the right to contraception and even same-sex marriage. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC-06) sponsored the Right to Contraception Act, which quickly passed the Democratic-controlled House (with nearly every Republican voting against).[iv] In the Senate, Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), brought the bill to the Senate floor and it was blocked.[v]


[i] “Tracking the States Where Abortion Is Now Banned,” New York Times, accessed November 7, 2022, available at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/us/abortion-laws-roe-v-wade.html.

[ii] Burgess Everett, Marianne Levine & Sarah Ferris, “Graham’s abortion ban stuns Senate GOP,” Politico, September 13, 2022, available at https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/13/grahams-abortion-ban-senate-gop-00056423.

[iii] Brian Bennett, “Biden Vows to Push to Restore Abortion Rights Nationally if Democrats Expand Hold on Congress,” Time, October 18, 2022, available at https://time.com/6222910/biden-abortion-rights-democrats-election/.

[iv] HR 8373 – Right to Contraception Act, July 21, 2022, available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/8373/text.

[v] “Republican Senator Blocks Bill to Codify Americans’ Right to Contraception,” US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Press Release, July 27, 2022, available at https://www.help.senate.gov/chair/newsroom/press/republican-senator-blocks-bill-to-codify-americans-right-to-contraception-.

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