House Democrats vote to restore abortion rights, right to travelJuly 15, 2022
No state has yet attempted to ban a person from an out-of-state abortion, but that’s not stopping Republican legislators from considering it. Texas is almost certain to try it, with a group of lawmakers preparing to introduce legislation to make it a felony for employers in that state to pay for workers’ out-of-state abortion travel expenses. They also want to extend the bounty-hunter system they created for their abortion ban to allow suits against people helping to facilitate out-of-state abortions. Lawmakers in Arkansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Missouri are looking at those kinds of bills as well.
We already know the bills passed by the House today are dead on arrival in the Senate. The bill codifying Roe v. Wade already fell to a Republican filibuster abetted by Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who refused to work with the rest of Democrats in ending the filibuster.
Republicans have also already blocked a similar right-to-travel bill, introduced by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). She tried to bring the bill to the floor Thursday, but Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) blocked it.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that some states are going to continue to move forward with these kinds of legislation,” Cortez Masto said. “This is a form of gaslighting, to keep insisting that American women will be able to get care when we know that anti-choice legislators and groups are working to stop them from doing so. What legislators are doing across the country to restrict women from traveling is just blatantly unconstitutional.”
The White House is also engaged in attempting to protect the right to travel, along with other efforts to strengthen access to abortion in an executive order. The White House counsel will take the lead in encouraging private attorneys and others to offer “robust legal representation of patients, providers and third parties lawfully seeking or offering reproductive health care services throughout the country.” The fact sheet on Biden’s executive order specifically says that could include protecting the right to travel out of state.