WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) led 115 of her colleagues introducing a resolution opposing the criminalization of the full range of sexual and reproductive healthcare 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-1), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Jackie Speier (CA-14).
The resolution is endorsed by 151 organizations including: Physicians for Reproductive Health, If/When/How, the National Center for Transgender Equality, NARAL, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Guttmacher Institute, Feminist Women’s Health Center, and the New Georgia Project Action Fund. Click here for the full list of endorsing organizations.
The resolution reads in part:
“Congress condemns the misapplication 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 essential health care; affirms the ethical obligations of health care providers to safeguard patient privacy; declares a vision for a future where access to abortion, contraception, and gender-affirming care is universally free from restrictions and bans and people are able to manage care on their own terms, free from discrimination or punishment…”
Congresswoman Williams, Whip of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and a member of the Congressional Pro Choice Caucus said:
“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. I worked on the frontlines of reproductive health care and saw the sacrifices people made to get the care they needed. Criminalizing people who need or who provide reproductive health care won’t save lives. Criminalizing reproductive health care services puts them out of reach for many millions of people in marginalized communities.”
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:
“The threat of criminalization deters people from seeking medical care when they need it, undermines trust between patients and their health care providers, and violates the rule of law. Criminalization is discriminatory, and it targets communities that are disproportionately policed and surveilled like communities of color, people who are struggling financially, immigrants, young people, and trans, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people. No one should be criminalized for their pregnancy outcomes or for seeking the health care they need.”
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality said:
“Politicians around the country are targeting the transgender community and health care providers, trying to deny us access to life-saving health care. These bad-faith attacks are putting lives at risk, and it’s critical that the US Congress works to ensure no one is denied abortion care, gender-affirming care or contraceptive care. To criminalize appropriate medical care is an abuse of power that must be opposed.”
Mini Timmaraju, NARAL Pro-Choice America President said:
“With the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, 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. As the Supreme Court prepares to end the constitutional right to abortion as we know it, we’re proud to support leaders like Rep. Williams who are fighting to safeguard abortion access and protect our fundamental freedoms.”
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. Congresswoman Williams serves on the exclusive Financial Services Committee where she is Vice Chair of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress. She is Freshman Class President and Co-Chairs the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as a champion of voting rights, closing the racial wealth gap, and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of their ZIP code or bank account.