For Immediate Release:
September 17, 2019
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 -

Councilmember Grosso introduces legislation to protect D.C. abortion rights

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso today pushed back against a tide of measures in several states that seek to limit reproductive health freedom by introducing legislation to affirm all D.C. residents’ right to access the full range of reproductive health options, including abortion.

“Across the country, reproductive health decisions—and specifically abortion rights—are under attack,” said Grosso. “President Trump continues to nominate judges that will shift the ideological makeup of the courts, while state legislatures enact unconstitutional laws that restrict access to abortion.”

Since January, 10 states have passed total or near-total bans on abortion. In some cases, laws like Alabama’s, the strictest abortion ban in the country, are crafted in such a way to force the court to revisit Roe v. Wade. In other states, restrictive laws are meant to make access to abortion so difficult that it will not matter whether Roe v. Wade stands or not.

“D.C. residents have the right, in consultation with their doctor and free from government interference, to make medical decisions about contraception, abortion, or carrying a pregnancy to term,” Grosso said. “We must enshrine that right into the D.C. Human Rights Act, leaving no doubt that the District of Columbia stands for reproductive health freedom.”

The Strengthening Reproductive Health Protections Amendment Act of 2019 puts D.C. in direct opposition to this trend by amending the 1977 Human Rights Act to recognize the right to choose or refuse abortion care, prohibit the criminalization of self-managed abortion, and protect health care professionals against employer discrimination based on their participation in providing abortion care.

“We need lasting protection for reproductive health access now, no matter what happens in Congress, in the states, or in the courts,” said Grosso.

Councilmembers Anita Bonds, Elissa Silverman, Brianne Nadeau, Mary Cheh, and Charles Allen joined Grosso as a co-introducer of the bill, as well Councilmember Brandon Todd, chairperson of the committee to which the legislation was referred.