Democrats finally start playing offense for abortion rights

Republicans have passed close to 200 abortion restrictions since 2011. Democrats are finally waking up

By Katie McDonough

Published November 14, 2013 2:07PM (EST)

                                     (ProgressOhio via Flickr Creative Commons)
(ProgressOhio via Flickr Creative Commons)

After years of watching Republican lawmakers pass increasingly draconian restrictions on women's access to abortion care, congressional Democrats have finally realized that protecting abortion rights and women's health requires more than voting against bad legislation.

Led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., a coalition of Democratic lawmakers have, at long last, gone on the offensive, introducing a measure that would push back against the recent proliferation of so-called Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws and other medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care. The Women's Health Protection Act would create federal protections against state laws that have nothing to do with protecting women's health and everything to do with undermining women's bodily autonomy and constitutional rights in order to score political points.

States have enacted close to 200 of these restrictions since 2011 and show no sign of slowing, which is why it's a good thing that Democrats have finally decided to do something about it.

“This assault on essential, constitutionally protected rights has gone on too long,” Blumenthal wrote in an editorial for the Huffington Post. “We are introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013 this week to end it, once and for all. Our bill would stop states from subjecting reproductive health care providers to burdensome requirements that are not applied to medical professionals providing similar services.”

MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Wednesday interviewed Blumenthal about the effort, watch it here:


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Abortion Abortion Care Abortion Rights Trap Laws Video Women's Rights