Beto for America
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

CNN Town Hall: O’Rourke Introduces Plan to Protect and Expand Women’s Reproductive Rights

DES MOINES, IOWA -- Tonight, Beto O’Rourke laid out his plan to mobilize every branch of government to protect Roe v. Wade, expand access to reproductive health care and defend the constitutionally protected right of women to make their own decisions about their bodies. The announcement came during a CNN Presidential Town Hall at Drake University.

“For so long, women have been leading this fight, shouldering the burden of making sure their reproductive rights are protected,” said O’Rourke in response to a question from a Drake University pharmacy student. “It’s time that all of us join them in this fight.”

America is facing a nationwide assault on women’s reproductive freedom - from Alabama’s near-total abortion ban recently signed into law to the dozens of states that have passed medically-unnecessary TRAP laws designed to make it harder for women to access abortion and reproductive health care services. To fight back against these increasingly radical and dangerous efforts, Beto O’Rourke is prepared to use the full force of his administration to protect a woman’s right to choose and keep politics out of women’s personal health care decisions. 

O’Rourke’s approach to protecting women’s reproductive rights and access to safe and legal abortion builds off of his record in Congress where he consistently voted to protect a woman’s right to choose, including cosponsoring the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act and voting against a national 20-week abortion ban. 

Beto’s plan consists of actions that involve all three branches of the federal government, including: 

Executive Branch
  • Appoint an Attorney General who would protect a woman’s constitutional right under Roe v. Wade to access the health care she needs and deserves in any litigation on this issue, including opposing any unconstitutional TRAP laws and attempts to hide behind religious liberty to limit a woman’s health care options.
  • Take executive action to reverse the Trump Administration’s “gag rule” banning doctors from telling women how they can safely and legally access abortion.
  • Put forth a budget that includes increased Title X funding for women’s health and includes no restrictions on the use of federal health care funds for abortions -- as is the case right now under the Hyde Amendment. Such restrictions disproportionately affect women of color and women in underserved communities from accessing abortion.
  • Remove scientifically unsound FDA labeling regulations that impose barriers to the use of medication-based abortions
Judicial Branch

Appoint judges who respect that a woman’s right to choose is well-settled law squarely grounded in constitutional principles of liberty and privacy.

Legislative Branch

Work with Congress to pass affirmative, statutory rights that prevent states from unduly burdening a woman’s right to choose and veto any federal legislation restricting this right.  Legislation to accomplish many of these goals has been introduced in Congress in the form of the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act.

Federal legislation would: 
  • Affirm the Constitutional Right to Choose:  Affirm a woman’s constitutional right to choose under Roe v. Wade and preempt state and local laws banning abortion prior to viability.
  • Stop Politically-motivated TRAP laws: 
    • Ban regulations that do not contribute to patient safety standards or quality of care, and are instead meant to close clinics;
    • Prevent states from mandating medical procedures and protocols, such as medically unnecessary waiting periods or ultrasound requirements, designed to prevent women from accessing abortion.
  • Protect the full spectrum of reproductive health care through insurance coverage: 
    • Repeal Hyde Amendment: The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits spending federal funds on abortion services, disproportionately impacts women of color and women in underserved communities. Any woman who gets her care or insurance through the federal government must be covered for all pregnancy-related care, including abortion.
    • Prohibit abortion restrictions on private insurance: No politician should be able to interfere in the private insurance market to prevent insurance companies from providing abortion coverage.
  • Create a universal health care system that includes coverage for the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare, including access to contraception and abortion.
Details about this plan can be found at: