Updated: October 1, 2022
US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) joined colleagues in introducing the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022.
The bill clarifies that it is illegal for anti-choice states to limit travel for abortion services, and would empower the Attorney General and impacted individuals to bring civil action against those who restrict a woman’s right to cross state lines to receive legal reproductive care.
Sen. Hirono, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in introducing the measure.
“Now that Republican-controlled states have free-reign to make abortion illegal, many women will be forced to travel to other states to seek reproductive care,” said Senator Hirono.
She said Democrats introduced the bill to help make sure women will not be prohibited from interstate travel to seek health care or prosecuted for doing so.
“The Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act will help ensure people across our country can safely exercise their constitutional right to travel, including to seek or provide reproductive care, without fear of legal prosecution. I will continue to do everything in my power to protect the right of all individuals to make decisions about their bodies and their futures.”
“Legislation introduced in Missouri and draft legislation proposed by anti-choice extremists illustrate that interstate travel for reproductive health care is under attack,” according to a press release issued by Sen. Hirono.
The Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022 underscores the Constitutional protections for interstate travel and provides redress for women whose rights are violated. The legislation would also protect health care providers in pro-choice states, like Hawaiʻi, from prosecution and lawsuits for serving individuals traveling from other states.
A long-time champion for abortion access, Senator Hirono said she is committed to protecting the fundamental right to abortion care for all. Earlier this month, she convened a working group of Hawaiʻi reproductive leaders to discuss the impact the Supreme Court’s decision will have on women in Hawaiʻi, how to better support access to reproductive care in the state, and how public officials, physicians, and organizations can work together to better support women across the country.
The full text of the legislation can be found here.