The right of women to make their own reproductive choices is a fundamental liberty that the Constitution protects, and that all branches of government must guard. My position cannot be clearer: I oppose any efforts of any kind to subvert Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose.
Protecting Roe v. Wade
Attacks on a woman's right to choose by extremist legislators and judges are commonplace. On both the state and the federal level, we've seen two techniques to infringe upon a women's right to choose. The indirect method uses various limitations (such as the spousal consent law passed in Pennsylvania in the 1990's) to restrict a woman's right to an abortion - restrictions of this type are often prohibitive in both intent and in affect. The direct method, which includes the more recent South Dakota abortion ban, explicitly challenges the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade.
Both methods are means of subverting the constitutional right to an abortion, and neither is acceptable. Roe canonized reproductive freedom as a fundamental right, and the Court has upheld it dozens of times in the past several decades. We must continue to guard this fundamental right.
In the wake of new threats to Roe, I strongly support the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). FOCA would codify Roe by establishing a federal law guaranteeing reproductive freedom. In doing so, FOCA would protect a woman's freedom to choose if state legislatures try to chip away at those rights or even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Preventing Undue Burdens
The 1992 case of Casey v. Planned Parenthood established a fair standard for determining whether laws violate the right to an abortion. Casey banned any law which imposes an "undue burden" on a woman seeking an abortion. I support the Casey standard, and oppose any laws burdening women seeking to exercise their right to an abortion. We've seen a rise in such laws over the last decade, and I would oppose any such law as a member of Congress.
Laws creating buffer zones around abortion clinics are important to ending intimidation, preventing violence, and removing burdens from women seeking abortion. I was a strong supporter of a 2000 state law creating buffer zones around abortion clinics - the law created a bubble around patients and staff to protect them from protesters. Current federal law is not strong enough on this area; I support federal buffer zones to protect women and doctors nationwide.
Late Term Abortion
The Supreme Court's recent decision to uphold a ban on federal ban on late term abortion is an alarming departure from past precedent. The Court has held for decades- until now - that any limitations on abortion must contain explicit provisions protecting the health of the mother. Furthermore, the ban is not simply a ban on late term abortion; it actually outlaws multiple procedures, including common methods used in the second trimester. Congressional passage of a bill without a health exception and the requirement that Republican presidential candidates oppose abortion under any circumstances reveals the strong anti-choice stance of the Republican Party. Two fundamental rights are at stake: a woman's right to make reproductive choices, and woman's right to medical treatment.