Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren put up a detailed policy proposal on Medium before any of us woke up this morning. This time, Warren is using recent abortion bans and restrictions in Alabama and other states as a jumping off point for a plan to expand reproductive rights.
After laying out the reality—that President Donald Trump’s pick of two right-wing judges for the Supreme Court and the Senate’s ongoing packing of the federal bench has emboldened Republican-controlled legislatures to pass abortion bans in anticipation of overturning Roe v. Wade—Warren got to the point of what we should do about it:
Congress should pass new federal laws that protect access to reproductive care from right-wing ideologues in the states. Federal laws that ensure real access to birth control and abortion care for all women. Federal laws that will stand no matter what the Supreme Court does.
Given the makeup of the Supreme Court and its complete disdain for precedent, it’s sort of impossible to tell if any federal law mandating abortion rights would stand up; still, it’s important for the Democrats to at least try. So what does Warren’s idea for a forward-thinking abortion policy look like?
The core components of it are a federal law that would mirror the protections provided by Roe, as well as a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a federal statute standing since the 1970s that bans federal funding for abortion. Per Warren, the aim of the package would be this:
First, they must prohibit states from interfering in the ability of a health care provider to provide medical care, including abortion services. Second, they must prohibit states from interfering in the ability of a patient to access medical care, including abortion services, from a provider that offers them.
That’s not all, however. Warren also said she wants to ensure abortion rights are protected and covered under both private insurance and a future Medicare for All system, and wants to preempt state efforts to fuck with abortion laws, which is sure to draw howls from the “state’s rights” crowd that’s somehow totally fine with Alabama forcing the city of Birmingham to keep its minimum wage at poverty levels.
“These kinds of restrictions are medically unnecessary and exist for only one purpose: to functionally eliminate the ability of women to access abortion services,” Warren wrote. She noted that a bill has already been proposed in Congress that would do just that.
Warren’s approach here is exactly the right one: to make a strong push not just to protect the sliver of reproductive rights still standing for people who have wombs in America, but to expand those reproductive rights, and to take states to task for undermining what’s been settled as a civil right for nearly 50 years.
Warren is still hovering in the polls behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, so it remains to be seen whether this or any other policy rollout will work for her in this election. But perhaps more than any other candidate, Warren continues to push all the right buttons when it comes to putting forward a positive vision for what the future of the Democratic Party should look like (though with some notable, and bizarre, exceptions). Let’s hope that continues.