12-05-2023  2:09 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 22 June 2023

Washington, D.C.— Today, Representative Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), and Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01) introduced the Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act to provide grant assistance for those who travel long distances to receive reproductive health care, including abortion care.

“One year ago, the Supreme Court ripped the promise of equitable access to reproductive medical care away from millions of Americans, and MAGA extremists have spent every day since then trying to enact a national abortion ban,” said Rep. Strickland. “Access to safe and legal reproductive health care, including abortion, should be accessible to everyone, but care is too often out of reach for low-income families and women of color across the country. The Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act fulfills our responsibility to guarantee reproductive freedom for all women regardless of where they live.”

“Right now, in states across the country, millions of Americans are unable to make their own health care decisions,” said Sen. Baldwin. “Women in states like Wisconsin are being forced to travel out of state just to see a doctor for critical health care, including abortion. And for too many, the cost of travel, child care, overnight housing, and time away from work puts safe, comprehensive reproductive care totally out of reach.”

“In overturning Roe and passing one extreme state abortion ban after the next, Republicans have unleashed a full-fledged health care crisis that is jeopardizing women’s health and forcing them to stay pregnant against their will. I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Baldwin to help ease the financial burden on vulnerable women who are being forced to travel across state lines to access the health care they need,” said Sen. Murray.

“Women and families in Texas and states across our country where abortion has been banned are in crisis,” said Rep. Fletcher. “One way to help people and organizations respond to this crisis is to authorize grants to eligible entities to pay for travel-related expenses and logistical support for women seeking abortion care in states where it is legal.”

“In the year since the far-right Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 14 states including Missouri have banned abortion care, sometimes forcing residents in our states to travel hundreds of miles to get to the nearest available clinic. Too often our community members have had to scrape together hundreds to thousands of dollars just to pay for travel expenses or have had to forgo care altogether,” said Rep. Cori Bush.

Healthcare and travel benefits

The Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act will establish a grant program authorized at $350 million per year for FY24 through FY28 and allow the Treasury Secretary to award grants to eligible entities to pay for travel-related expenses and logistical support for individuals accessing reproductive health care. Funds would be available for round trip travel to access abortion services, lodging, meals, childcare, translation services, doula care, patient care and information services, and lost wages.

The lawmakers noted that following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, people already facing barriers to reproductive health care were disproportionately affected, particularly people of color, people with disabilities, low-income persons, and more. The Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act would provide equitable access to reproductive and abortion care for all Americans. 

Read the text of the bill here.

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