On Wednesday, June 25, a crowded field of candidates gathered on Day One of the 2020 Democratic debate. It was their night to shine — and hopefully break out as a top runner. If you tuned into the event, then you might be wondering: Can Roe V. Wade be made a federal law? Elizabeth Warren thinks it should be.
In case you missed her exact words, Sen. Warren declared, “It’s not enough for us to expect the courts to protect us," according to The New York Times. She then called for Roe v. Wade to be “federal law” as “state after state undermined Roe.” For the record, this isn's the first time Sen. Warren has called for abortion to be the official law of the land. And she's certainly not the first politician to call for a woman's right to choose to become law. Just a few days before the debate, former Vice President Joe Biden said the same thing. But could this actually become a reality? That's the real question.
According to a detailed plan by Sen. Warren — and published in May by Medium — it looks like there are ways to make Roe V. Wade law. But it would actually require a series of actions by lawmakers. First off, Congress could create federal statutory rights that prohibit states from interfering in health care providers provider medical care — including abortions. They could would also need to prohibit states from interfering in patients' access to medical care (again, including abortions) from a provider that performs them.
Warren also noted in her plan that federal laws need to be passed in order to "preempt state efforts that functionally limit access" to reproductive health care. In other words, many states have already passed laws that de facto block access to abortion — by placing physical, geographical, and procedural restrictions and requirements that are medically unnecessary. Warren noted The Women's Health Protection Act would provide a way to block these types of laws from states, and that Congress should pass it.
Furthermore, guaranteeing reproductive health coverage as part of all health coverage is key, according to Warren. That starts with repealing the Hyde Amendment, which blocks abortion coverage for women under Medicaid, the VA, and the Indian Health Service. She added:
Congress must also pass the EACH Woman Act, which would also prohibit abortion restrictions on private insurance. And we should ensure that all future health coverage — including Medicare for All — includes contraception and abortion coverage.
Not long after her remarks during the debate, Warren's official Twitter account again shared her plan and tweeted, "Every woman should have access to the full range of reproductive services, including safe, legal abortion. Most people in this country support #RoeVWade, and we need to make it the law. Here’s my plan to protect reproductive health."
So there you have it. Although there isn't one sweeping way to make Roe V. Wade a single law, per se, there is a series of steps that can essentially accomplish the same thing. Let's get started.