Press Release

April 26, 2023
Cardin, Murray, Colleagues Reintroduce Legislation to Ensure Doctors Can Provide Legal Abortion Care, Protect Providers from Out of State Extremists

WASHINTGON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Patty Murray (D-WA), reintroduced legislation to protect abortion providers in states like Washington—where abortion remains legal—from Republicans’ attempts to restrict their practice and create uncertainty about their legal liability.

The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act would ensure that doctors can continue to safely provide legal abortion care and protect health care providers from being held liable for providing services to patients from other states. U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and U.S. Representatives Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA-06), Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA-25), and Yadira Caraveo, M.D. (CO-08) joined Murray and Schrier in introducing the legislation today.

“Ensuring doctors can provide the full scope of reproductive care to patients saves lives,” said Senator Cardin. “As some states strip these liberties and threaten health care workers, our legislation will protect providers who are continuing to provide essential health services to patients forced to travel to seek abortion care.”

“MAGA Republicans’ nonstop attacks on a woman’s right to choose have created a climate of fear, confusion, and suffering—and have had a chilling effect on the lifesaving work abortion providers do even in states where abortion remains legal,” said Senator Murray. “Our bill is a necessary and commonsense step to protect doctors providing legal abortion care and ensure that doctors in states like Washington can continue to provide essential care without being threatened with jail time or lawsuits by out-of-state extremists.”

The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act will ensure that providers in states where abortion remains legal are protected from any efforts to restrict their practice or create uncertainty about their legal liability. Specifically, the bill will:

  1. Protect health care providers in states where abortion is legal from being subject to laws that try to prevent them from providing reproductive health care services or make them liable for providing those services to patients from any other state. These protections could be enforced by a federal lawsuit from the Department of Justice, a patient, or a provider, ensuring a future Department of Justice could not turn a blind eye to state laws that violate these protections;
  2. Prohibit any federal funds from being used to pursue legal cases against individuals who access legal reproductive health care services or against health care providers in states where abortion is legal;
  3. Create a new grant program at the Department of Justice to fund legal assistance or legal education for reproductive health care service providers;
  4. Create a new grant program at the Department of Health and Human Services to support reproductive health care service providers in obtaining physical, cyber, or data privacy security upgrades necessary to protect their practice and patients; and
  5. Protect reproductive health care providers from being denied professional liability insurance coverage solely because of legal health services offered to patients.

In addition to Senators Murray, Luján, Padilla, and Rosen, and Reps. Schrier, Bera, Ruiz, and Caraveo, the legislation is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The legislation has been endorsed by: Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, Power to Decide, National Council of Jewish Women, National Women’s Law Center, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and NARAL.

Read the full text of the legislation here and a one-pager here.