Senator Reverend Warnock, Colleagues Urge Justice Department to Take Action to Protect the Right to Travel for Reproductive Health Care

Senator Reverend Warnock joined Senate colleagues in urging the DOJ to investigate state-level efforts to infringe on the right of women to interstate travel to access reproductive health care.

Senator Reverend Warnock, Lawmakers:  “We are alarmed by efforts in other states to curb interstate travel, which may present an unprecedented attack on Americans’ rights” 

Washington, D.C. – In a new letter, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to protect the right to travel and constitutional right to interstate travel following state-level efforts to impede women’s right to travel to other states for abortion care. Senator Warnock’s letter also requested a briefing from Justice Department officials to better understand DOJ’s oversight into state actions. His effort was joined by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Peter Welch (D-VT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and John Fetterman (D-PA).

“Health care providers have explained that these laws ‘are condemning patients to delays in abortion care’ because patients must often cross state lines to receive essential health care,” wrote Senator Warnock and his colleagues. “Some states are now taking the extraordinary step of criminalizing women’s right to travel to other states for abortion care.”

“We are alarmed by efforts in other states to curb interstate travel, which may present an unprecedented attack on Americans’ rights,” concluded the lawmakers. “We are writing to better understand DOJ’s assessment of efforts to infringe on Americans’ right to travel and the constitutional right to interstate travel.”

More than a year after the Supreme Court ruled to ignore 50 years of precedent and overturn Roe v. Wade, 19 states have implemented near or total abortion bans, with many others implementing additional conflicting, vague, or restrictive laws that endanger the lives and health of millions of Americans. After the Court’s ruling, Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed that the decision should not interfere with the constitutional right to travel. However, politicians in a number of states have begun efforts to infringe on access to abortion care by targeting this right.

Senator Warnock has been a stalwart champion of protecting the right to reproductive health care. Earlier this year, Senator Warnock joined 48 members of the Senate Democratic caucus in introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2023. The bill would guarantee access to an abortion and restore the right to comprehensive reproductive health care in Georgia and across the country. Last month, Senator Warnock also joined his colleagues in re-introducing the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act that would block draconian state laws attempting to prevent women from traveling for reproductive health care, and empower the Attorney General and impacted individuals to bring civil action against those who restrict a women’s right to cross state lines for legal reproductive care.

Read the full letter text here