Proposed bill would make DC a sanctuary city for people seeking abortions

The District would become a sanctuary city for abortion seekers under a bill introduced to the city council Friday.

It’s a response to fears that the Supreme Court may overturn its 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion nationwide, as a draft opinion recently leaked to Politico indicates.



The Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act of 2022 would update the Human Rights Act of 1977. The plan would ban D.C. from cooperating if a state tries to prosecute someone who comes to the nation’s capital to get an abortion.

It was introduced by Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau and nine of her colleagues: Chairman Phil Mendelson, Council members Charles Allen, Anita Bonds, Vincent Gray, Christina Henderson, Janeese Lewis George, Kenyan McDuffie, Elissa Silverman and Robert White.

“With this bill, I am solidifying the rights of our own residents, as well as those who may now be forced to travel here to preserve their rights,” Nadeau said.

The plan would also protect people from laws that allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps someone get an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. Texas signed a similar bill into law earlier this year.

“I now have two daughters, so this is very personal, and I want everybody’s child to be able to access the health care they need,” Nadeau said.

Out of concern that other rights currently protected by the Constitution through Supreme Court rulings may also be in danger, the plan would also cover people getting same-sex marriages and gender-affirming health care in the nation’s capital.

“We shouldn’t have the Republican agenda seeping into our court system and overturning what is the law,” Nadeau said.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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