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Where the 2020 Presidential Candidates Stand on Abortion Rights

EMILY's List Breaking Through 2016 at the Democratic National Convention

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2019 has been an upsetting year for abortion rights in America. A handful of states have passed or considered restrictive and extreme laws on abortion, from Alabama, where the governor signed a bill that would ban almost all abortions, to Georgia, where the governor signed a bill that would ban abortions after about six weeks.

As the country prepares for the upcoming presidential election, it’s essential to know where the candidates stand on the issue—and what they plan to do if they were to step into office.

A number of Democratic candidates have expressed their support for reproductive freedom on their campaign websites, and after the bill passed in Alabama, Cory Booker gave the nation an idea of what his presidential plan would be, telling BuzzFeed News he would codify Roe v. Wade and end the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding from paying for abortions.

But while many Democratic candidates have come out against these laws, according to Axios, there are only three (three!!!) major 2020 presidential candidates who have disclosed written, detailed plans about reproductive rights: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kirsten Gillibrand. (Sen. Mike Gravel also has a plan on his campaign website, but this post will only address major candidates in the race so far.) Here, a look into each of those candidates’ plans.

Elizabeth Warren released her plan on May 17th with a post on Medium titled, “Congressional Action to Protect Choice.” According to that post, her plan includes:

  • Creating federal, statutory rights that parallel Roe v. Wade, so that even if it were overturned, abortion would still be accessible. These rights would prohibit states from interfering in the ability of a health care provider to provide medical care, including abortion, and prohibit states from interfering in a patient’s ability to access medical care, including abortion.
  • Passing the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would help block states from passing Targeted Regulations on Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which work to limit access to abortion care by imposing medically-unnecessary restrictions. The Act has already been proposed in Congress.
  • Guaranteeing reproductive health coverage by repealing the Hyde Amendment and passing the EACH Woman Act, which prohibits abortion restrictions on private insurance.
  • Ending President Trump’s gag rule, which limits providers who receive Title X funding from informing women about abortion access.

    On Bernie Sanders’s campaign website, he outlines his intentions to “defend a woman’s right to control her own body and economic future.” In regards to reproductive freedom, his plan includes:

    • Funding Planned Parenthood, Title X, and other initiatives that protect women’s health care, access to contraception, and access to abortion
    • Appointing federal judges who will uphold Roe v. Wade.

      Kirsten Gillibrand also detailed her plan in two posts (here and here), writing, “Entirely too much of the conversation about what women can do with our own bodies is being driven by a group of right-wing male politicians. It’s time for that conversation to be led by the actual experts: women and doctors.” Her plan includes:

      • Pledging to only appoint judges who will uphold Roe v. Wade, including on the Supreme Court.
      • Codifying Roe v. Wade into law.
      • Ending the Hyde Amendment, and repealing Trump’s gag rule.
      • Guaranteeing access to reproductive health care in all states, including ensuring private insurance covers abortion no matter where you live and ensuring that federal law makes it impossible for states to criminalize reproductive healthcare providers.
      • Expanding access to birth control and sex education, investing in   Title X family planning funding, and protecting funding for Planned Parenthood.

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