There’s a lot going on, so the DLCC is helping you catch up on the state legislative stories you might have missed. It’s July 1st; ease into the weekend with the state of the states.
For questions and suggestions, e-mail us.
- The GOP wants to strip people of bodily autonomy as Republican state lawmakers and anti-abortion advocates plot legislation to restrict people from crossing state lines to get safe and legal abortions. Arkansas Senator Jason Rapert, who said his state is likely to consider such legislation, compared the issue to human trafficking and asked, “why is there a pass on people trafficking women in order to make money off of aborting their babies?”
- Played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Elaine Benes in NBC’s Seinfeld unapologetically supported reproductive rights and used her humor and wit to stand up for abortion access. In real life, Julia continues to do the same, matching donations to reproductive rights organizations and proudly showcasing our work in state legislatures and the incredible Democratic lawmakers fighting for abortion access across the country.
- With a majority of Americans supporting the protections granted by Roe, Republicans know that attacking abortion access is a losing issue and are desperate to talk about anything else. Just look at the RSLC, who, despite the overwhelming resistance to Republican abortion bans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, cheered on the destruction of reproductive freedom in fundraising emails to their base and tried to downplay the impact of the court’s decision by releasing a poll that, in fact, shows Democrats gaining ground post-Dobbs.
- Republican abortion bans are a violent attack on women’s rights, and this week a Republican state Senate candidate in Rhode Island Jeann Lugo punched his Democratic opponent Jennifer Rourke, a Black woman and reproductive rights activist, in the face at an abortion rights rally. Even though he later announced plans to drop out of the race after his arrest, Lugo’s actions are indicative of the misogyny and normalized violence running rampant through the Republican Party.
- Republican lawmakers around the country have wasted no time spouting hateful nonsense concerning reproductive rights: Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn defended forcing a 12-year-old girl who was molested by her father to bear a child because “every life is valuable.” Arizona Senator Wendy Rogers largely agreed. Utah Representative Karianne Lisonbee downplayed the life-threatening consequences of her state’s abortion ban by saying that she trusted women to control their “intake of semen.” Texas Representative Briscoe Cain doubled down on his belief that “anyone performing or aiding an abortion in TX (including abortion funds & donors) could face murder charges.” And Georgia Representative Wes Cantrell denied that abortion was health care, adding that “abortion is never safe for the baby, much less the mother.”
- While Republicans are happy to force childbirth, they are less inclined to provide new parents health care to ensure they live to raise the baby. Mississippi and Missouri, both states with devastatingly high rates of maternal mortality, have blocked Medicaid coverage for moms for the year after they give birth. In 12 of the up to 26 states expected to ban or curb abortion access, the GOP has refused Medicaid expansion and Republicans are hostile to social safety nets that help families thrive.
- Pennsylvania Republicans have spent this legislative session pushing multiple bills that threaten access to safe and legal abortion, including a proposal by insurrectionist and state Senator Doug Mastriano that would essentially ban abortion entirely. However, they have not spent much time focusing on issues that would actually help families in the commonwealth.
- Now that Roe has fallen, Arizona Republicans are reaching back to a 121-year-old law passed before statehood in order to ban abortion. Modern-day Republicans had also passed a 15-week abortion ban earlier this year, but this week, empowered by the Supreme Court, supported the enforcement of an archaic statute enacted before women had the right to vote. (Not to give the GOP any ideas!).
- In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s historic upheaval of reproductive rights, state Democrats are stepping up all across the country to keep abortion safe and legal. California and Delaware Democrats have already passed protections for abortion providers and patients from out-of-state, while Democrats in Colorado and New Jersey are laying the groundwork to quickly pass protections in their states and defend reproductive rights for millions.
- “This is not just an attack on our bodily autonomy. This is an attack on our financial security, our economic futures,” said Arizona Senate Minority Whip Victoria Steele in the Arizona statehouse last week. Steele is among the hundreds of Democratic lawmakers in GOP-led states who are vocally fighting back against Republican attacks on reproductive rights and fighting for the millions of those affected in their communities. In Pennsylvania, House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton put it plainly, that Democrats are “here with our sleeves rolled up and ready to rumble.” In Florida, as lawsuits swirl around Republicans’ cruel abortion law, DLCC board member and Senator Janet Cruz, who was a pregnant junior in high school in 1973, forcefully defended abortion rights: “My choice was to have that baby. But I had a damn choice!”
- New Hampshire Democrats are calling for a special legislative session to codify Roe. New Hampshire let people control their own bodies until Republicans passed one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the state’s history after taking control of the General Court last year. Democrats are pushing back against out-of-touch Republicans to return unfettered reproductive freedom to the Granite State.
- Thanks to state Democrats, laws that protect reproductive rights go into effect today in Connecticut and Maryland. Connecticut’s “safe harbor” law ensures that patients from out-of-state and clinicians providing abortions are legally protected. Maryland Democrats’ measure is one of the strongest laws in the country and protects individuals both performing and seeking abortions while also requiring insurance providers to provide coverage for reproductive health care.