WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) continues her leadership to protect access to essential health care, including abortion. Congresswoman Williams led the introduction of a resolution to condemn attempts to criminalize the full range of sexual and reproductive health care including abortion, gender-affirming care, and contraceptive care. The resolution also disapproves of the criminalization of pregnancy outcomes. The resolution is being co-led by Congresswomen Alma S. Adams Ph.D. (NC-12), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Lucy McBath (GA-07), and Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) with 73 total original cosponsors. Congresswoman Williams introduced similar legislation in the 117th Congress. Companion legislation has been announced by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Patty Murray (D-WA).
The resolution is endorsed by 74 organizations including: Physicians for Reproductive Health, If/When/How, the National Center for Transgender Equality, NARAL, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Guttmacher Institute, and the Feminist Women’s Health Center. Click here for the full list of endorsing organizations.
The resolution reads in part:
“The House of Representatives condemns the application of criminal laws to punish people for the outcomes of their pregnancies; affirms that people deserve access to high-quality health care without fear of reprisal or punishment; condemns the criminalization of providing or supporting essential health care; affirms the ethical obligations of health care providers to safeguard patient privacy and the private medical information integral to the patient-provider relationship; and declares a vision for a future in which the ability of patients to access sexual and reproductive health care including abortion, contraception, and gender-affirming care, is universally free from restrictions bans, and barriers; and people are able to exercise self-determination in their reproductive and sexual health; and manage care on their own terms, free from coercion, discrimination, or punishment…”
Congresswoman Williams, Vice Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and a member of the Congressional Pro Choice Caucus said:
“Protecting access to sexual health care benefits everyone. Someone you know, someone in your family, or someone you love currently relies on or will need abortion, contraception, gender-affirming care, or other essential health care. Criminalizing reproductive health care only puts up barriers to care, resulting in millions of people suffering with marginalized communities suffering the most.”
Mini Timmaraju, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America said:
“Americans need their representatives in Congress to take a strong stance in support of reproductive freedom. That’s why NARAL Pro-Choice America is proud to support Rep. Nikema Williams’ resolution opposing the criminalization of abortion care and other essential healthcare, including contraception and gender-affirming care. People across the country are already arrested or charged for pregnancy outcomes—and the threat of criminalization is as dire as ever. We’re proud to support leaders like Rep. Williams who are fighting to safeguard abortion access and protect our fundamental freedoms.”
Dr. Jamila Perritt, President & CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health said:
“As a provider of comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion care, I know how important it is for people to be able to access timely, compassionate health care. These dangerous political restrictions being enacted against abortion care and gender-affirming care, and the ongoing threats on access to contraceptive care, make clear that no one is safe. It is time for Members of Congress to send an unequivocal message that no matter someone’s health care needs or the pregnancy outcomes they experience, no one should be criminalized for getting the care they need. People deserve compassion, not judgment, stigma, or punishment. Abortion is not going anywhere. Contraceptive care is not going anywhere. Gender affirming care is not going anywhere. People will continue finding ways to get the care they need, and they should not be surveilled or criminalized for doing so.”
Sara L. Ainsworth, J.D, Senior Legal & Policy Director of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice said:
“Right now, across the country, the threat of criminalization is deterring people from seeking medical care when they need it. In fact, our research on the criminalization of self-managed abortion found that 45% of people who were criminalized were reported to police by care professionals. These reports were made by health care providers or social workers that people reached out to when they were in need of care during or after their abortions. This breakdown of trust and ethics between patients and their health care providers is alarming, instills fear, and can create lasting harm to people who are criminalized. No one should have to fear being arrested, investigated, or jailed for their pregnancy outcomes or for seeking the health care they need.”
Olivia Hunt, Policy Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality said:
“Freedom and autonomy are American values, and every person deserves the right to decide what they need to live and thrive. As we’re experiencing rampant attacks on reproductive and gender-affirming health care in statehouses and courthouses, defending our bodily autonomy means defending our right to live freely. The fights for gender-affirming care and reproductive care are intertwined in this way. Criminalizing this life-saving health care is an assault on not only transgender people, but all people. Health care is a fundamental right, and it is critical that Congress defend it fiercely.”
Kwajelyn Jackson, Executive Director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center said:
“Feminist Women’s Health Center is deeply concerned about the rising trend of criminalizing reproductive healthcare and gender affirming care. Both are threats to our individual bodily autonomy and our ability to provide lifesaving care that transforms people’s futures. We must do everything we can to protect patients and providers from prosecution under these tyrannical laws. Our communities deserve unfettered access to safe, affordable, and compassionate healthcare where they live.”
Click here for the full text of the resolution.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the exclusive Financial Services Committee. She is a champion of voting rights and builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams is committed to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of your ZIP code or bank account.