Padilla, Murray Introduce Legislation to Protect Health Care Providers from Anti-Abortion Attacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) reintroduced legislation to protect abortion providers from extreme Republicans’ attempts to restrict their practice and create uncertainty about their legal liability. The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act would ensure that doctors can continue to safely provide legal abortion care and protect health care providers from being held liable for providing abortion services to patients from other states.

“Abortion access is a fundamental right and we must protect the courageous health care providers that are delivering this essential medical care to those who need it,” said Senator Padilla. “As Republicans work relentlessly to pass cruel laws dismantling reproductive rights that put lives at risk, we must do everything in our power to protect people in states run by anti-abortion legislatures.”

“MAGA Republicans’ nonstop attacks on a woman’s right to choose have created a climate of fear, confusion, and suffering—and have had a chilling effect on the lifesaving work abortion providers do even in states where abortion remains legal,” said Senator Murray. “Our bill is a necessary and commonsense step to protect doctors providing legal abortion care and ensure that doctors in states like Washington can continue to provide essential care without being threatened with jail time or lawsuits by out-of-state extremists.”

Senator Padilla believes in a woman’s fundamental right to make her own health care decisions and is a staunch advocate for reproductive rights. As a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, Senator Padilla is fighting to protect access to abortion access throughout the United States. While Republican-led state legislatures work to deny reproductive rights, he’s also fighting to protect a patient’s right to travel freely between states to access abortion care.

The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act will ensure that providers in states where abortion remains legal are protected from any efforts to restrict their practice or create uncertainty about their legal liability. Specifically, the bill will:

  • Protect health care providers in states where abortion is legal from being subject to laws that try to prevent them from providing reproductive health care services or make them liable for providing those services to patients from any other state. These protections could be enforced by a federal lawsuit from the Department of Justice, a patient, or a provider, ensuring a future Department of Justice could not turn a blind eye to state laws that violate these protections;
  • Prohibit any federal funds from being used to pursue legal cases against individuals who access legal reproductive health care services or against health care providers in states where abortion is legal;
  • Create a new grant program at the Department of Justice to fund legal assistance or legal education for reproductive health care service providers;
  • Create a new grant program at the Department of Health and Human Services to support reproductive health care service providers in obtaining physical, cyber, or data privacy security upgrades necessary to protect their practice and patients; and
  • Protect reproductive health care providers from being denied professional liability insurance coverage solely because of legal health services offered to patients.

In addition to Senators Padilla and Murray, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Debbie Stabenow (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as well as Representatives Kim Schrier (D-Wash.-08), Ami Bera (D-Calif.-06), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.-25), and Yadira Caraveo (D-Colo.-08).

The legislation has been endorsed by: Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, Power to Decide, National Council of Jewish Women, National Women’s Law Center, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and NARAL.

Full text of the bill is available here and a one-pager is available here.


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