Catholics for Choice Outlines Post-Roe Federal Policy Agenda
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 11, 2022
Contact: John Becker, Press Secretary
Catholics for Choice Outlines Post-Roe Federal Policy Agenda
WASHINGTON – As Congress returns from the Independence Day recess – which immediately followed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey – they are expected to act on restoring abortion rights for millions of people. This week, we anticipate a second House vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which faces an uphill battle in the Senate due to antiquated filibuster rules. This follows Friday’s Executive Order by President Biden, which was a welcome first step to protecting abortion access, though more work needs to be done.
Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, today calls on pro-choice Catholic President Joe Biden, the entire Biden-Harris administration, and members of Congress to take immediate action in three key areas: abolishing the filibuster and passing the Women’s Health Protection Act, advancing the Equal Rights Amendment, and pursuing immediate executive action to address the current crisis of care.
“With its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – decimating 50 years of precedent and robbing people who can get pregnant of essential rights – the Supreme Court has proven that it cannot be trusted to uphold even our most basic freedoms,” said Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson, M.Div. “A decision this devastating merits nothing less than a proportional response. Catholics for Choice calls on lawmakers at all levels of government to take critical, proactive steps to safeguard and fund access to abortion care; to uphold reproductive and religious freedom; and to protect patients, providers, and their support networks from harassment, violence, and criminalization.”
“Because we cannot rely on many in our federal judiciary to be impartial arbiters of justice, we must turn to the other two branches of our national government to take immediate action,” said Catholics for Choice Policy Director Shannon Russell, J.D. “While there are many in Congress and the Administration seeking the right way forward – such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s push for an anticipated second vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act later this week and President Biden’s Executive Order issued Friday – we know that more must be done to reinstate and further strengthen the rights taken away by the Supreme Court.”
1. Remove Barriers to Legislating the Will of the People by Eliminating the Filibuster
Said Russell: “In this time of immense suffering, all roadblocks to progressive change must be eliminated. This includes the filibuster, a long-standing barrier to true equality and democracy that has blocked legislation on issues from reproductive and climate justice to civil, voting, immigrant, and LGBTQIA+ rights. Ending this archaic rule once and for all will better equip the Senate to advance the common good and represent the will of the American people. Catholics for Choice calls on senators to abolish the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (S 4132) as well as critical bills impacting our ability to exercise our reproductive and human rights including the Freedom to Vote Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and For the People Act (voting rights); Green New Deal (climate justice); Equality Act (LGBTQIA+ protections); DREAM Act (immigration rights); Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (maternal health); George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (police reform); and Washington, D.C., Admission Act (DC statehood).”
2. Enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment into Law
Said Manson, “The ERA would enshrine equal rights for all Americans regardless of sex. It represents an invaluable tool in combatting abortion bans and restrictions, allowing lawsuits arguing that these dangerous policies are one of the many forms of sex discrimination outlawed by the amendment. Catholics for Choice asks that our senators pass S.J.Res.1 to eliminate the deadline to ratify the amendment (an action already approved by the House) and that our Representatives pass H.Res.891, which would confirm that the ERA has been properly proposed by Congress and ratified by the states and is therefore valid as the 28th Amendment. Additionally, President Biden can also direct the U.S. Archivist to publish the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. It is well past time to enshrine equal rights for all in our nation’s supreme law.”
3. Utilize the Full Force of Federal Resources to Respond to this Crisis
Said Russell: “President Biden has promised a comprehensive response. He has already issued an executive order that will safeguard access to medication abortion and emergency contraception, set up an interagency task force, and promote the safety of abortion patients and providers. But these are exploratory and perfunctory actions that must go further. We call on President Biden to declare a public health emergency and utilize all appropriate national emergency authorities to help people across the country access abortion care. The president can also authorize the use of federal property and resources to provide abortion services and design and implement agency regulations to expand access to care, protect patients from discrimination, and preempt contradictory state laws. What’s more, because many people will not be able to access care in their home states, the Biden-Harris administration must ensure that people seeking abortions and their companions can safely exercise their right to travel to do so.”
“While this is by no means a comprehensive list of actions that our elected officials can take to demonstrate their support for abortion access, it is a start toward building a future where all can freely determine their sexual and reproductive destinies with dignity, respect, and affirmation,” concluded Manson. “Catholics for Choice and our supporters across the country look forward to supporting and partnering with our champions in Congress and in the Biden-Harris administration on this sacred work.”
Jamie L. Manson is President of Catholics for Choice and has a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. Shannon Russell is Director of Policy at Catholics for Choice and has a juris doctorate from George Mason University.
Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.