Grassley: It would be ‘unconstitutional’ to curb travel for abortions

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) this week said that it would be “unconstitutional” to restrict travel for abortions, suggesting that not all Republicans agree with curbing at least some of the efforts patients are willing to go to receive the medical procedure.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade, abortion rights advocates and some lawmakers are anxious that interstate travel for abortion could be the next target for those considering further restricting access to the medical procedure.

But on Wednesday, Grassley said “we cannot stop people from traveling anyplace they want to,” the Des Moines Register reported. “It’s a constitutional issue and a freedom.”

Earlier this week, Senate Democrats introduced legislation to combat anticipated state efforts to make it harder or altogether illegal for people to travel across state lines to receive an abortion, including banning efforts to “restrict or in way sanction, hold liable, discriminate against, or otherwise disadvantage any individual from traveling to another State to receive or provide reproductive health care that is legal in that State.”

Health care providers who assist in abortion services for interstate abortion patients would also be protected by the bill.

But a request from Senate Democrats to pass the legislation unanimously was halted on Thursday by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.).

“Does that child in the womb have the right to travel in their future?” Lankford asked. “Do they get to live?”

Interstate travel for abortions is anticipated to become more common given the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion, which has since led a patchwork of states to curb or ban abortion procedures.

The story of a 10-year-old girl in Ohio who was raped and became pregnant and who was denied an abortion, requiring her to travel to Indiana to receive the medical procedure, galvanized the nation as one example. The Columbus Dispatch reported on Wednesday that 27-year-old Gershon Fuentes had been charged with raping and impregnating the child.

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